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.
I honestly meant to write earlier this week, just as I mean to write in a journal nightly…guess what, neither has been happening. Partly, this has been due to getting sick, being busy, and my mental state not being conducive to writing. However, at the very least, my blog can be a solid way for me to chronicle my transition journey, and if just one other girl reads it and says, “Yes! I so relate to what she’s saying,” and it gives her peace of mind, then it’s worth sharing as well.
I am now into my 12th day on HRT, and I can say that this week has started to reveal some emotional and physical changes. These are things that I notice, even when nobody else will, but I thought I would share them here and talk about where I am at with my transition.
On Monday, I was in a great mood and went downstairs to do some yoga. Now, I use or should say I “used” my Xbox 1 to play DVDs, and so I inserted the DVD into the machine, but the machine was failing to recognize it. This is pretty common with the initial release machines, so I kept ejecting and reinserting to try and get it to read the disc, and then it happened. On like the 10th try I bumped the machine by accident, and the disc got stuck. There is a way to manually eject a disc, and my attempt to do so instead of working, broke the machine completely, and my hormones took over.
Immediately, a mix of emotions hit me, irritation, anger, guilt, and sadness? Now, I was used to the irritation and anger hitting me, those, after all, are old friends of mine…but guilt and sadness? Where the hell did they come from? The XB1 was mine, what did I have to feel guilty for? As it hit me more, I began to feel horrible, almost wanting to cry because I had just broken the game system that my kids play most of their games on. My son just bought a game to play on the system, and I felt horrible and sad that he couldn’t play, and that it was my fault. This is not something I have ever really thought about, except maybe in a detached manner, but the feelings wouldn’t leave me.
My wife called me a little later, and here is where I knew my emotions were for real…after talking to me she said she got a little worried telling me that my emotions shifted five times in the three minutes we were on the phone. She said she felt like she was having a conversation with herself…and since then she’s had fun with me on several occasions, but she did worry about me the rest of the day, and even offered to bring me home cheesecake. It was the first time she was understanding in a way that was more woman to woman than wife to husband, and so I give her props for that.
The thing with my emotions is this…my old thought patterns are still there, and at times I can still feel my old reactions rising up, but it’s like I’m developing this filter that allows me to recognize and alter my behavior from emerging. It’s like I’ve developed this ability to think about how my reaction will affect others before I show my ass to the world. Now, it’s still emerging at this point, and I still slip, but I can only see this getting better, and there is a peace that I gain from knowing it.
Tears are always much closer to the surface. Now, I’m not a weepy type of person, and my mother is not a weepy type of person. However, I feel freed up to let tears come without a need to hide them. Commercials, TV shows, music, you name it, things seem to be moving me more than they ever have before. This past weekend, one of my 8 year old soccer players started crying due to a loss, and it had me on a knee giving him a hug and consoling him (while I held back tears because I felt for him). The me of a year ago would never have hugged another person’s child, for fear of being seen as a creep, but I just instinctively reacted to a child in need…no thought, no worry…other than a desire to comfort him.
I’m also more patient to listen to my children, and give them praise. My wife made the comment two nights ago that our house has calmed down again, and that everyone is relaxed once more. This alone give me reason for silent celebration inside. Becoming Allie has stopped me from hurting those closest to me, and instead is now helping me to strengthen bonds that I had begun to weaken with my anger and self-hate.
My wife and and I are getting along better, but there is no doubt our relationship is changing, and this early in the game I can’t say where we will end up, but I think we’re both more at peace with the direction we’re heading, whatever the end result is.
What about physical changes? Surely there wouldn’t be any in less than two weeks, right? Wrong! My skin is doing something weird right now as I’ve started breaking out with zits. I’m not talking like my first puberty, but still, several at one time is a lot, especially as I take good care of my skin. This week saw two big ones emerge on my forehead, and one on the side of my nose. I can’t remember the last time I had a zit on the side of my nose. As to the other physical change…well it deserves it’s own paragraph.
Last night, I was carrying a box down to the basement and slipped, letting a box corner jab into my right pec/breast? I said breast, because the pain that I felt was like nothing I’ve ever felt from that region before, and I’ve torn a pectoral muscle before. The pain shot in a straight line through my body and out my back. Even as I write this, my right nipple is sore with a very slight constant ache. I’m still reticent to say my breasts have started to develop. After all, it’s been 11 days, but one of my girlfriends said that’s around the time she started to feel something, and I am on a high starting dose of HRT. Add to it that I think there might be a bud starting to form on the right side…I’m beginning to possibly accept it. Both of my nipples looked weird last night before going to bed, but I also messed with both quite a bit last night. This morning they both look normal, but the ache came back to the right one, and hasn’t left. Anyways, I’m open to the idea that it might really be starting, but I want to see if the feeling is still there in a week, before I’ll believe fully. All that said…my muscles couldn’t start shrinking before I start to grow boobs?
HRT will do what it does on your body’s timetable, not your mind’s desire, and so as a girl in transition, I just have to accept that, and work on the things I can control. I started voice lessons this past Monday, and I’m not sure if I like my voice coach. To be honest, she kind of rubbed me the wrong way over money. She’s transgender, and should understand the costs that all of us have to deal with. When I tell you I don’t have the money to do a lesson every week, take me at my word. Did she do that…of course not. Instead, she told me that if I’m serious then I need to be committed and that she recommends weekly lessons…and I wanted to say, “Of course you do, sweetheart. You charge $70 a lesson by four equals $280 a month, plus $150 for a monthly therapy session, and oh yeah, my laser hair removal…you need to remember I also have other bills and a family.” I told her I could do two a month…and so I’ve sat on the fence the rest of the week without scheduling anything because she just kind of annoyed me.
Some take exception to calling transition a “selfish” pursuit, but in reality it is (my blog, my opinion), and everyone is allowed some selfish pursuits. It is something almost exclusively for me, and that is O.K. It is something that I need and have to do, but I’m also constantly aware of costs, and others should not have to do without so that I can have stuff, especially not my children. If someone cannot understand that, then what can you do. In her case, she’s young and does not have family of her own yet, so I will probably go back and give her another chance.
I go for a laser hair removal consult on Monday, and so hope to start removing hair shortly, and I’ve already paid for that via Groupon, but I also know I will end up needing electrolysis on my chin and a few sporadic places on my face. I’m also contemplating some waxing. I’ve heard some girls say 3-4 waxings could remove the male hair permanently, as it is replaced with more feminine vellus hairs, but again that may be more of a YMMV from girl to girl.
Finally, I am going to completely revamp my food and workout schedule beginning next week…as soon as I’m over this cold. My weight was plateauing, so time to switch it up. I will now do an hour of yoga three days a week, and an hour of HIIT cardio the other three days…with one day off each week. I’m to a point where an hour of HIIT cardio will burn between 1000-1200 calories…this coupled with a strict 1500 calorie low-protein diet should see my muscle start to shrink. Partnered with HRT I’m hoping the process will go faster. The key is being disciplined and sticking to the program. Girls who say they can’t lose the muscle, simply aren’t doing it right. I could lose the muscle without HRT, but with it I should definitely be able to shed the bulk more quickly. Again, this is something that takes time, but I have the time so why not make use of it.
It’s easy for all transgender people to fall into the trap of wanting it all right now. Of course, I would love to wake up tomorrow and have the bod I’ve always wanted, but that isn’t going to happen. It’s hard for any of us to be patient, but patience is what I must have, because my body isn’t changing over night. At the same time I can look forward to where I will be at six months, a year, 18 months, two years from now. For the most part, right now, it is enough to know things are happening, and that change is occurring. It gives me the peace of mind to get me through each day.
If you follow me on Twitter or are a Facebook friend then you already know what I am about to share, but as of Monday, October 9th…this bitch, yours truly, started HRT!!!
There is a peace of mind for me that goes along with getting on blockers and hormones. I’ve begun a second puberty, the right puberty, and for me that knowledge is self-sustaining. To anyone who has or is transitioning we all know that it comes in stages, and realistically nothing happens overnight, but I feel like my first stage came to a close on Monday. I moved from what I call the acceptance phase to what I’m calling the puberty phase. These are my terms, and they speak to how I see my transition.
Acceptance was all about accepting I was transgender, beginning therapy, and sharing that realization with those I live with. Puberty will be about change. What do I mean by change? Well, HRT is going to change my body and affect my mind, there is no getting around that. These are all changes I welcome and am excited to see…but I’m also a little nervous to see if I won the genetic lottery or not. Some change drastically on HRT and for some those changes can start to happen quickly. For others, changes can be less drastic and/or take a lot more time. Either way, I will be happy, I’m just reminding myself to be patient and to let things happen as they will.
As part of puberty, I will start voice lessons next week, and I will have a consult for laser hair removal the following week. I have also purchased some more clothes I like. Nothing fancy, but just some things I can wear around the house that make me feel more myself. I’m also beginning to realize my sense of style/fashion for what I think my body type will be. My wife can tell you my fashion sense is impeccable, and that I have dressed her for years. This is why my being trans wasn’t a total shock to her once she thought about it (She’d also tell you I have all the insecurities of any woman and always have.). However, I also don’t want to get into fashion or style in this post. I want to wait to discuss until I’m further along, so that I can have fun with the topic.
As for mental changes, I’m already beginning to notice them, and I’m sure most of them are placebo at this point. Just the knowledge I have E in my system, and that T is on th decline can be enough to change outlook. Yesterday, for example, my emotions were on the surface, and I found myself tearing up at anything even slightly sappy on TV. I actually find this hilarious and wonderful at the same time. Feeling freer with my emotions is something I have desired for decades, and now that I feel myself opening up, I feel like I can finally start to be my real self. Although, I did have to stop myself from crying, when hugging one of my soccer players while consoling him, after our only season loss. I also just realized that last season I would never have hugged another person’s kid, but he was upset, crying, and my instincts said to give the little guy a hug and a pep talk.
I’m also more ready to listen this week, without feeling the need to defend or fight back. Monday was exciting for me, but not so much for my wife. She asked about the HRT, but not much more than that. Tuesday night, after telling my son’s therapist that I was transgender (I forgot to mention, we told the kids last weekend about me…see my mind is all over the place at the moment, so I am sorry if this is a shitty post), my wife decided to start with me. Things had been building again within her, and so she needed vent. I expected my starting HRT to be a catalyst, and so it was.
She started with how she realized that she will never have that male passion from me again, and that I’ve ruined it for her. She also admitted that if it wasn’t for the kids that she’d be gone. I expected her to eventually say this, and can I really blame her? I mean, in her shoes I’d be gone too. She went on to tell me that I don’t look at her like I used to, and that I don’t compliment her, that I’ve changed, etc. Some of this is on the mark, and some isn’t quite fair in my opinion, but I listened without defending. In the end, we agreed that we needed to try and rebuild our intimacy, and I’m not talking sex…that would be way down the road at the moment, if ever. I’m talking about our connection to one another, and so we will try and do that. I admitted that I had been holding back my real self out of fear of wigging her out. She said to stop and be myself, and that if she was wigged out she would tell me. She is still hurt by my actions during the summer, but also realizes now that I was literally “out of my mind” this summer, and that the person she was seeing wasn’t in her right mind. It doesn’t make her hurt less, but it does allow her to forgive. She also told me that I have some serious ass kissing to do.
I also found out her parents know about me. Apparently, her father saw me looking at a trans timeline and thought I was having an affair with a transwoman. She didn’t want him to think I was cheating, and so told him the truth. She says her parents are accepting and supportive, but simply worry about where she’ll end up. I would expect nothing less.
Where will we end up? Worst case scenario, as we see it, is that we continue to live together for a few years because of the kids, but that we simply become best friends and decide to separate. Best case scenario would be we find a way to be intimate on all levels again, not because of our genitals, but because just being with the other person is what we need. We can’t know for sure where we will end up for a few years yet, but we have agreed to be open and honest with one another.
I do know there will be other serious conversations moving forward, and I have to be willing to listen each time one pops up. I also can’t know what I will want yet. There are so many unknowns, so many changes yet to come. Will I only like women? Will I also like men? Will I like both? Will I feel the need to explore my sexuality. Will she like “Allie” Will Allie be a person she wants to be with, or a person she can be intimate with. My hope is that she will, but that is right now. I can’t say who I will be two to three years down the road. There are just too many unknowns that stretch out before us.
I know there is more I could be saying, but I’m not joking when I say my mind really isn’t working at 100% currently. Right now, I don’t have any serious issues to work through…I’m feeling positive about the future, and can’t wait to see where it goes. As long as I get to live life as “me” I feel like I can deal with anything that might come my way.
As for the third stage of my transition…I call that “full-time” but that is still a ways off, and I’m not going to speculate on how that will be, as there is no honest way I can know right now…I can say I am looking forward to it more than anything, and that it will include switching documents, coming out at work, and leaving my dead name behind in favor of the one I have chosen. However, until then, I will focus on the now and take each day as it comes.
This is a line from my favorite Against Me song, Bamboo Bones. I already know I will get the words as a tattoo…a reminder to keep moving forward in my transition, even when things get hard.
Right now, things are very good for me, and I’m making strides daily toward my transition. Many are small and unnoticeable to most, but I see them, and get to experience them…so that is enough right now. The only negative is that I’ve spent way too much money buying some things.
When things are good, I have the confidence to take more of my life and expression from “him.” They can be little things, like painting my toes, shaving off body hair, or wearing clothes I want at home. The last is big, not in the sense that I’m coming home to put on a dress and do my makeup, but in the sense that I have my wife’s support to do so, and that is huge for my confidence, just as it was for my daughter when she first started to change her mode of dress. I’m in the process of making my casual wardrobe more genderfluid, with the intent to mix and match male and female clothing. I’ve gotten to the point where I have stopped caring what others think. If it makes me happy then I will wear what makes “me” feel good.
Part of the reason for my jubilant mood today, and why I am choosing to write about my happiness today, instead of something else, is because I had my first visit with the woman who will provide me with my primary medical care and my HRT needs. Let me just say, she was everything I was hoping for when I made my appointment. She’s sweet, kind, affirming, and genuinely happy for me. On top of all that, she specializes in trans patients and what they need! What’s not to love about her? Seriously though, we had a wonderful talk about everything moving forward, and then when I asked about if I’d have to come back to get my prescription for HRT, she told me no, and my opinion of her went up even more.
See, for those that don’t know, many medical providers still require a therapist letter affirming that you are transgender and are a good candidate for transition, but guidelines no longer require this, as long as informed consent is given. I felt it important to my journey to get a letter, but I will not have mine until Monday, the same day my labs are supposed to come back for my hormones. Many doctors would make me come back, make another appointment, and then give me my prescriptions. However, my doctor will not make me do that, instead she simply said that if all looked good she’d send the prescriptions over to my pharmacy and I could start that day!
As she talked with me about the hormone therapy, what it entailed, and how I would change in the first two months, I felt a total body excitement that I have rarely ever felt. I thought I’d be more nervous at the thought, but honestly, I can’t wait to get started.
For those who are unfamiliar with HRT, my drug regimen includes two drugs, Spironolactone and estrogen. I will start out with 100mg of Spironolactone to be taken once a day, and this will block/lower the testosterone in my body to natal female levels eventually, allowing the estrogen to do it’s job of bringing my mind and body into alignment. For estrogen, I will start with 6mg daily (2 pills in morning, and 1 pill in evening). After two months we will evaluate where I am at, and adjust as needed.
So what can I expect in the first two months? Well, I’m told I can expect a calmness/peace of mind to come over me. At the same time, I’m starting my “real” puberty, and so I can expect to have some emotional issues as well, and to honest I’m excited to see how things hit me. As to the physical, my skin will become drier and softer, my sweat will change, and early breast development should begin. I may also see less morning wood, which would be perfect, because as I have lost weight and gotten healthier the issue has gotten to be a daily occurrence again, much to my annoyance. As to the rest, well, that all depends on how my genetics react to the estrogen, but those significant changes to the body often don’t start to show, no matter who you are, until at least a few months on HRT.
As I write this, I realize that for the past two months I’ve been preparing for the biggest adventure of my life. Now, I am on the precipice of a cliff and I can’t wait to leap into the unknown. In truth, I’ve never wanted to jump so bad. I want to see the muscle melt, my body change, the female form start to emerge. I day dream about when I will first notice something different in the mirror, and what that something will be. I wonder when my mind will first begin to feel those changes, and what my first mental changes will be. Some claim significant change, and others have said they didn’t feel like their mind changed that much. I can already say, even before HRT, that my emotions are already more accessible, freer. I’m quicker to feel close to tears, for both happy and sad things. I can only imagine that my emotions, and the ability to emote will get more intense, as the testosterone lowers in my body and those “male” blocks go away.
All of this also leaves me to consider how this will affect my family. My wife and I have already talked about how we will share what is going on with the kids. We decided to approach this using the same language my daughter used when she started to come out to us. She often talked about a boy and a girl heart, and so this weekend we will share with the kids that daddy has always had a boy and a girl heart, but I’ve just let the boy bully the girl for close to forty years. I’m going to tell them that the girl is finally standing up for herself, and that daddy is working with doctors to decide what to do.
I will stress to them that I am never going anywhere, and that no matter what…I will always be their dad and love them. My kids were foster kids to begin with, and so family is the most important thing in the world to them. Their mother and I will let them know that no matter what happens we will always be a family, and that will never change. It’s important that they have time to process and ask questions. In a few months we will share with them that I am really a woman, and that I am taking medicine to help me be the “real me.” My daughter will get this, as she has already asked about what she will do later as she gets older. My son, well, if I’m right, all he’ll care about is that I love him and that I’m not going anywhere. Overall, I think the sharing should go well, and they have friends with two moms, so it won’t be a total shock from that perspective, but they are allowed to feel whatever they want, and all we can do is be there to help them understand.
As for my wife? She is the brave one. She has made efforts to help me, and I know she’s trying not to think about it too much. I have to imagine the day I start HRT, a serenely happy day for me, will not be a happy one for her. She could tell something was on my mind last night, and all I was doing was trying to keep my happiness down. I know I’m allowed to be happy, but I also don’t want to feel like I’m shoving it in her face. There will be physical changes that will do that all on their own, and I’m sure we will talk about how she feels as those come about. My goal is to be compassionate to this woman I adore, and to let her process and accept things on her own timetable. I know she will, because she has accepted that this is really happening, and the only way we stand a chance is to move forward.
Finally, I have also decided to start a daily journal, beginning with the day I start HRT. I don’t know how much I will share here, but I think my journal entries may be the foundation of what I do post here. I intend to possibly write a book one day, and I also want to chronicle how I change, body and mind, moving forward. I can’t help but wonder if after two years, five years, tens years from now I look back at my first journal amazed at who I was, and just how far I’ve come. I feel like in some ways, next week my life finally begins as it was supposed to be.
I bought “Tranny” on Audible about a month ago, but did not rush to listen to it, and only put it on in my car as I made the drive north from south Florida back to the Atlanta area early this week. I knew Laura Jane Grace (LJG) fronted Against Me, and that she had transitioned a few years ago. I’ve never been one to pile on bandwagons, and so as my daughter transitioned…and then as I began to transition myself, I was damned if I was going to be the cliche trans person following a band just because the front woman was transgender. However, as I began to dig into her book, I began to find that much of our thought processes were identical or ran parallel to one another, and that just drew me into wanting to check out her music. So this past weekend that is just what I did, downloading all her albums on Spotify and…my love affair with LJG and Against Me began.
I’ve always been a fan of thrashing rock, punk, classic rock, and I could go on. Nothing gets me going for competition or workouts than hard driving bass, drums, and electric guitars. I was immediately taken with the songwriting abilities of LJG. I’ve always been a sucker for good lyrics. They matter to me, and as I listened to her lyrics I became even more hooked on her music.
Let me step back a second, and say the last two weeks have been eventful ones. Last week was a goodbye of sorts. One thing is certain from every transwoman I’ve ever talked to and that is this…HRT will fundamentally change the way I see and interact with the world. Estrogen will change my brain, and so I spent last week quietly saying goodbye to certain things, happy to do so, but a little sad as well. I admit, there were some tears shed on my part as I realized this version of me will never see my parents or brother again, but it is how it has to be, and I have faith that when the time comes they will accept, love, and support me.
Getting home, my wife and I had a good talk. She shared her fears and concerns regarding intimacy, and while I assured her I still found her attractive, the unasked question is, “what will she think of me as my body and mind start to change. Will she find me attractive? We don’t have those answers, but we agreed to try and move forward. We don’t know how things will turn out, but we love each other, and we will see if, in the end, that is enough.
Much bigger, I’ve realized that I’ve left my self-hatred and anger behind. They no longer rules me, and I shared that in therapy this week. The blowup between the wife and I last week was a major turning point for me and my transition…an important, positive one that has seen me begin to reconnect with my family…who I was so close to losing…and if that had happened I would have lost everything I hold dear.
So where did my self hate and anger come from? I was angry and hated myself because I couldn’t be me. I was angry I had to hide the female me, and hated myself for being a coward. Finally, I realized that through various obsessions I had made myself numb to so much emotion. With the self-hatred and anger gone, my emotions have begun to emerge, and while I’m more prone to tears these days, I am happy that this is the case. Up until today, it had been over 22 years since I had last sobbed about anything.
The trigger? Well, my emotions were already raw, and it had been building, but it was an Against Me song which set me free. I had been listening to “Tranny” earlier today, and there is a part where LJG talks about her friend and former lover CC being killed, and while attending the funeral CC’s mother tells her to make it right. At the time LJG still wasn’t out. The story was sad, but I didn’t think too much about it while listening to the story. It wasn’t until I was deep into my workout listening to Against Me when “Because of the Shame” comes on (lyric version video is my Video of the Day).
I was doing my ab workout, and in the middle of it, I realize that the song was written about CC, but more importantly it was also written about LJG’s shame at the idea of showing vulnerability. It was a shame I knew all too well, a shame that has kept me living a lie for so long, and a shame that I am through with. Still, as I listened to the words, I sat up and began to cry. I couldn’t help myself, but the tears were not my usual weak tears that I could push down and gain control over. This time, they just kept coming, and I simply let go and sobbed. The song hits me on such a visceral level, and even now as I think of it, I’m fighting back the urge to cry. I’ve hated who I am for so long, hated how I held such rigid control over what I allowed the world to see, including those I love. Even now, as I find my happy, because I have let go of that rigid control, there still exists a residual sadness for time and incidents that I can never make up, and that I can never get back. Laura and her song will forever hold a significant place in my transition, and emotional development, and for that I will be eternally grateful.
I am old enough to know, LJG will never read this, never know just how much that song, her words, mean to this 42 year old woman just beginning her transition, but I think it connects because I know, without a doubt, that the shame she felt mirrors my own regarding what we both pushed down and denied for so long, before moving past it to find our real selves.
Looking at this week so far, it has been a week of turning corners. Monday I found out that I will get my HRT letter at my next therapy session, and I also confirmed yesterday that in all liklihood I will be able to start HRT that same week…meaning in less than two weeks I will finally be on the physical road to aligning my body with my mind.
My wife is talking more about my transition in, if not a positive light, then definitely not a negative one. She has noticed I am engaged more, and more involved in the household…I am simply more there. And, finally, after my workout today, I shaved off my beard for the first time in eight years, and for what I know will be the last time.
I am finally getting excited for my future, and feeling more at peace than I think I have ever been before in my life. I have left behind my self-hate, anger, and my shame. In their place I have found freedom, contentment, and a peace that I hope to keep a hold of as I move forward with my life. I no longer have to be ashamed, because there is nothing shameful about living my real truth.
The past week has seen many up and downs for me, and as I’ve said to many people, things have gotten very real.
As I came out, got to know other girls via social media, and received massive support from those I shared with, I was buoyed up and not forced to face many realities that stand before me. In many ways this is as it should be. If I had to look at all that stands before me I might run to the corner, hide, and never come out. It is best to plan ahead, but you should also take each day at a time, and adjust as necessary to what is thrown your way.Last Friday was a mix of good and while I won’t say bad, I will say starkly real.
I decided on Friday to come out to a group of “Parents of Transgender Kids” that I am a part of. I used to be very active in the group, and regularly wrote a blog as the “father” of a transgender daughter. I was confident that it would be an affirming group to come out to, but I had no idea just how positive my news would be received, and to say I was overwhelmed by the positivity and support shown me would be an understatement. I am even happy to admit that there were some happy tears shed as I read messages left for me. When I wrote my announcement, I vowed to respond in some way to everyone who reached out to me, and it took me over two hours to do so, and I was happy to do it. To those of you who posted and read this…thank you from the bottom of my heart. Things like your messages give me armor for when times get tough, or when I get low. You all have a special place in my heart, and I will always remember and be thankful for your support.
To the women who readily accept my female self and have reached out on social media, and to the local women who have extended hands of friendship, let me say thank you! Your acceptance, and friendship means so much, and I can’t wait to begin to get to know all of you, and let you get to know me.
However, love isn’t always sunshine and roses, sometimes it is about being real with the ones you love, and so I want to talk about what else happened on Friday. I’ve talked before about how my anger was a big reason I sought therapy and knew I had to come out as transgender. I had known my wife was not happy with me, but wrongly assumed it had to do with emotions she was feeling from me telling her I was transgender. I was right about her anger, but very wrong as to the reason. At around the time I decided to seek therapy I had begun to lash out at everyone in my house, my wife, my kids, no one was safe from my short fuse. I had gotten so bad that my wife was a hair’s breadth away from taking the kids and leaving me. Fighting back tears, she shared this with me Friday night, after I started to get angry for something else she had told me. As I listened, I found the anger falling away, only to be replaced by a profound sadness, and then she broke down about my trans status.
My heart broke as she began to break down in wracking sobs. I dropped to the floor, back against the wall, as her words hit me, and I just listened. She had turned the corner to accepting that this was happening, but this is not a joyous thing for her. She is losing her husband, and it breaks my heart that as I move forward, she will suffer in many ways for it. This is not uncommon for those of us that want to keep our families intact, and it highlights one of the many difficulties of transitioning later in life. The silver lining in it all is that her sharing has allowed us to move forward and now actually have real conversations about my transition. I no longer feel like I can’t share, or that she doesn’t want to hear it, but I also accept that none of this will be easy for her.
Her big fear, as is the case for many spouses, is that I am moving too fast…however, what many do not understand is that I’ve fought this for decades. There is no such thing as moving too fast at my age, but for her, and because I was so good at lying to the world, it seems like an overnight happening. I assured her that this would not happen overnight, and that I was looking at what I thought would be a minimum of two years before a final end result. I don’t know if it made her feel better, but it did put her more at ease. We both cannot say if we will be together when this is all over. Perhaps we will, and perhaps we will not, but even she is certain that no matter what we will always be close friends and remain in each others’ lives. Things will happen as they will, and we will adjust as the changes in our relationship dictate. It saddens me to think she may not always be my spouse. I have been married to this wonderful woman for over 18 years. People are always telling me how brave and courageous I am, but in my eyes, she is the brave and courageous one. She is choosing to support and stand by me as I slowly kill her husband, and replace him with Allie. To be able to stand by and watch that…well, I’m on the verge of tears just writing this.
As for being on the verge of tears? I am currently down in Florida visiting my parents, and completely in stealth mode. They have been unbelievably affirming of my daughter, and I believe they will support me, but it has been a trying time for me as they keep bringing up trans issues, and every time they do, I want to say “I have something I need to tell you.” I don’t tell them, and won’t yet, but it’s hard keeping such a big secret from them. However, it’s the right thing to do, but it is also something I will talk about in therapy again next week, as I think about the “how to” of eventually telling them.
I find myself, as of late, walking through life as if I am a person who has just been given a death sentence, or told she has only months to live. Every time I experience something, I can’t help think, this might be the last time I do this as a “man”, or this will be the last time I do this before hormones change how I see the world. So many girls tell me how HRT will change the way I see and experience the world, so while I will continue to present male at work, and for some time out of the house, my brain will change much more quickly, as testosterone gets blocked, and estrogen takes over. Once that happens, regardless of how my body looks, I will cease to be the person I am right now. Even excited and looking forward to HRT this is a heavy thing for me to face. These thoughts, make the past few days bittersweet for me. I look forward to the future, but have a sorrow for the would-be man I am putting to rest with the knowledge that it will hurt many who love that person. I can only hope that they will see the heart of that man is the woman I really am, and that it was my love and fear of hurting others that made me wait so long to share my deepest secret with them.
Love can be joyous, and love can be sadness, but through it all, love is wondrous.
I do not doubt this, and it gives me hope that others will accept and in turn show me compassion and love in return. I hold onto this as I move forward, and will do my best to constantly remind myself of it in the darkest of moments during transition. As long as there are people who think positively of me and there are those who love me, I will never be alone and will find a way to keep moving forward.
As I move forward with my transition, I begin to realize I am changing in ways that are, at the same time, both scary and positive. These days my emotions seem to constantly bubble right beneath the surface, and I find that while I still can present a very male mask, much of what is beneath the surface is the real me, the female, pulling the strings.
I find the fact that the real me is beginning to emerge an exciting time, but with every step forward there is no going back, to go back would mean oblivion, and yet no matter how confident I seem, there is always a fear of the unknown, because you can never know for sure how people will eventually react to you. Other women have told me that they are amazed at how I can pace myself and take my time when all they want to do is run. I’ve thought about what they’ve said, and want to clue them in to the fact that a huge part of me wants to run as well. I just know that isn’t the path meant for me and my transition.
I want to wear the fun stuff, dresses, shoes, fun tights, nail polish on my fingers, and make-up on my face. However, I am also in my early forties, and have a family, a good job, etc., and so there is a way in which I must go about my transition in order to maintain as much of what I have and want as possible. I accept I may lose things, but I won’t give them up without a fight, and I will try and move forward with as much positivity as possible. Good people gravitate towards positive, and unconsciously want to share in it. If I want people to accept Allie, then I have to show them that Allie is a person they want around them, that Allie is someone they want working for them, and that Allie is a friend and family member who makes life better.
I keep sticking to my “Two years on HRT plan.” What that means, is I want to be on HRT for two years before I decide what’s next, but I may hedge at the year mark and schedule gender confirmation surgery (GCS) if I feel the changes happening are good enough that I can wait on any other surgeries I might want. I won’t know what other surgeries I’d want until the 2 year mark anyways. The only surgery I know I want for sure is GCS. OK, and a nose job, and some liposculpting…I have this fat on my inner thighs that I had even as an athlete, and it just won’t go away…but I digress…The point is I don’t have hang-ups about my face, and hope I never do…for me it is body and voice…those are my biggest triggers. As for genitals…I don’t hate my penis, but I don’t love it either. I do hate my testicles…they’re just…in the way…all the time…and I will be happy to see them shrink, and eventually removed.
Another benefit of my two year plan is that it gives those I love and care about a chance to begin to see changes, to share why those changes are occurring, and to let them get used to those changes before the biggest change of all…stepping out of the man suit and leaving it behind for good. If HRT brings about a second puberty then all those things cis gals learn during puberty, I will have two years to learn. I talked about it in therapy yesterday, and I do mean that. I’m not a woman yet…because girls go through puberty to become women, and I have yet to go through mine. Not all will agree with me, but that’s how I see my transition, and mine doesn’t have to be like anyone else’s.
Being a woman isn’t putting on make-up and a pretty dress. I am female, but I need to learn how to present and navigate the world as a woman. I need to get used to my body as it changes, and also get used to how people will begin to see and perceive me. I need to learn how do do my hair, my make-up, and what clothes look best on my body. More importantly, I need to find my female voice, adjust my mannerisms, the way I move, the way I talk, the way I hold myself. I need to find my confidence in those things. Taking my time gives me the opportunity to work on those things while my body does its own changing.
I’m the type of girl that can be happy with seeing positive change…as long as I feel I am moving towards my end goal then I am happy. Right now it is weight loss, down 27lbs as of this morning, and I continue to average 2-3 lbs a week, which I am more than happy with. My eating habits have changed, and I’m not starving myself. I no longer eat like a man, but we also established yesterday that I used to eat that way to also cover for my depression, which I have moved beyond by accepting I am female.
So where am I an emotional mess? I’m getting to that, this is my blog and I am free to go where I will. Some know that I am quite active on Twitter, and as such I talk to many girls, all at different stages and with different experiences. I have been lucky to find a couple who have really taken me under their wing, and their positivity truly can boost my spirits and stop dysphoria in its tracks. Friday was such a day, where a conversation with another gal threatened to take me to a dark place, but when I reached out to my fairy godmother, as I call her, she came back with just the right things I needed to hear, and the day ended on a positive note. I can’t stress enough to girls starting out how important community is to us. This is rough enough as is, but to do it alone…as confident as I can seem, I’d be a complete mess, and so I am thankful I have found friends and support at home and on the internet.
Saturday night my wife got upset with me when she found I had been shaving certain parts of my body, and I hadn’t told her. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but I had agreed to share everything with her. It left me feeling horrible, but a friend chatted with me for almost two hours late into the night, and the next day I awoke to apologize to my wife. I did not apologize for shaving, but for the not sharing. If we are going to find a new place in our marriage, then she has to feel a part of my transition, and that I am a better person for it.
Sunday, my wife and I were driving home from an event, and feeling emotional I told her that I constantly fear that the next step I take, the next thing I do might be the thing that weirds her out, or drives her away. She said she understood, but not much else. She knew I was starting to express in little ways, my feminine side, and that I wanted to switch out my underwear as a next step, but I needed to tell her it was happening. She had seemed ok with it, but I had to tell her it would be this week, and so I dove in and told her. I even hedged around saying I’d keep my guy underwear for the kids sake, and sleep in that. She just looked at me, shook her head, and said, “That’s stupid, just put on a pair of shorts when you come to bed.” Her matter-of-factness sent a message that maybe she’s accepting this faster than I thought. My wife isn’t a talker when it comes to her feelings, that’s my department, but I know she has them, and I know she loves me. It’s amazing how such a simple acceptance of my expression can give me greater confidence for the next thing I’ll want to do.
Monday’s therapy session brought more emotion out, as my therapist when talking about coming out to my parents asked a question that got me to begin to lose it regarding my father, and I’m not going there, don’t want to start blubbering again. Yes, I started to lose it…and if I had let myself it would have been bad, but I was able to reign it in so I could keep talking. I’ve also touched upon this thought in another blog post, but what I haven’t touched upon is how much of girl I’ve always been in my desire to please, especially my parents. I haven’t always shown it, but I know in some ways my transition is going to hurt them, and it is the last thing I want to do, to hurt my parents, but I also can no longer hurt myself for the sake of others. This is the truth of all of us who are transgender, and the emotions that go with it are no joke.
Therapy did end on a high note for me, as my therapist did agree that she didn’t see why I couldn’t be on HRT by my birthday less than two months away. That, made my day. I also almost forgot, but I have lined up a hormone doctor and a new primary care doctor, both who specialize in trans patients. I already have my appointment to get my levels checked for HRT, so that when I go to my hormone doctor I could get my prescriptions on day one, which has me so excited!
The affirmation of others around me only serves to give confidence that I am female, as for so long I worried I was a fraud or a fake. I know I am not, but emotions can be fucked up, and dysphoria meddling with them can make them even worse. As I was writing this, I got a tweet that might be the sweetest thing anyone has said to me, and definitely the sweetest since I started my transition. Talking about my timetable I had told my friend how bad I wanted to just jump in with both feet, and she came back with this:
“Oh Allie I do know how much you want it, never questioned that. Just wow: your kindness towards others and “skill” at helping them forward.”
Chrissy, if you read this…I love you right back! And, yes, her words made me cry, but just a little, and I’ll never turn down happy tears. To think that others might see me this way as I’m just starting out…I don’t know if I have the words to express what it means, other than my heart just feels full right now. It’s a feeling I want to hold onto, and this is a post I can definitely come back to when times get tough, because I know they will.
As I close on this, I’m left wondering if my emotions are really on the edge, or if they simply are finally beginning to emerge as they’re supposed to be. My biggest hope, early on, is gaining the ability to emote freely, once more. The past few days have given me some ups and downs, but I’ve come through it feeling even more positive about the future.
I wanted to share some words from my “fairy godmother” that make me smile with happy tears as I’m about to write them. It got me through the other day, and I’m sharing them because I think they can apply to others.
She wrote to me:
“We make what we make of this experience. Work hard, give grace, forgive…you know all that…I feel that positivity in you.”
“And the other thing is to temper the pace of the transition and build the patience necessary. We all know what haste does.”
“All the *small* victories are actually massive. Celebrate all of them. ALL OF THEM”
“When the big milestones happen you will have enough rocket fuel to last a year!”
The rest of what she wrote is more personal and for me…but I am so thankful for her, and she knows it. She is the one who first said what I needed to hear that allowed me to believe I could transition…and she didn’t even know it at the time.
Anyways, I think I’m gonna end here, because I’ve got a lump in my throat, and my eyes have started to slightly leak, but I’m owning that feeling because it also has a smile on my face which I intend to savor.
Oh, and I changed my music video…an old 80’s song that always makes me happy…because that’s where I’m at right now. Much love to you all!