Hard to believe I’ve been on HRT for one month already. When I took my first dose of three little pills I was ecstatic. Finally! I would start down the road of aligning my body with my mind, and I went into it with zero preconceived notions of what would happen first, or how it would affect me exactly. I certainly had hopes or a wishlist of sorts in how it would begin to change my me, but to anyone who has been on it for a month or a year we all know that there are many factors that will determine how we are affected and how fast things begin to happen.
Now, in general most professionals use the following chart or similar guidelines that detail the:
It should be understood that these are only generalizations, and as stated genetics, age, starting dosage, and absorption of blockers and hormones will all impact this. Environmental factors such as the use of nicotine (which is known to inhibit the absorption of estrogen), diet, etc. may also have varying degrees of impact on medical transition.
I can state without a doubt that some of the effects and changes discussed in the chart have very clearly begun to happen in my body while other things have not.
Going down the list I want to touch upon each as it relates to me, and most of what I mention has been observed by a friend, my wife, or I have been able to measure it, and so can be confirmed. At the end of talking about the list I will discuss changes in measurements from Day 1 to the start of my second month on HRT.
Now, on to the chart!
- Body fat redistribution, 3-6 months? For me, this started to make an appearance in my third week, and mainly presented in my abdomen on the right side and just a little bit on my butt. The right side of my midsection has narrowed at my waist and my abs there appear to have an extra layer covering them which makes them less pronounced than the left side when I flex my abdominal muscles. It is clearly visible, and when I asked my wife if she could see what has changed, she was able to point it out with out my needing to give her any hints. As for my ass, very slight rounding to the bottom of my butt. I’ve always had a typical flat “white man’s ass”…it is no longer “flat” but it certainly isn’t where I want it to be yet. Yet, all the same, even the slightest change makes me happy on this front.
- Decreased muscle mass/strength, 3-6 months? Nope, again three weeks was where I began to notice an increase in muscle fatigue. In addition, there has also been some muscle loss, although I haven’t noticed a huge decrease in muscle strength as of yet, except in a couple areas. My forearms are noticeably sleeker and smaller. My feet have also narrowed/begun to thin out, something my wife pointed out just a couple days ago was how my feet no longer look like “Fred Flinstone” feet. Instead, my toes look much thinner as do my feet. Shoes are looser, but I still think this has to do, in part, with weight loss as well. My shoulders have gotten smaller as well, but I’m not ready to claim this is HRT, and may very well simply be the result of not using those muscles anymore. However, I can say that my pectoral muscles are shrinking, but are receding outward from my breastbone. A month ago I could pinch my hand by flexing them. I can no longer do this, and can a see a visible difference when flexing those muscles in the mirror. In addition, measurements also support that I am losing muscle mass in many places.
- Softening of skin/decrease of oiliness, 3-6 months? Yeah, this guideline is bullshit as I know many girls who noticed a softening in the first month. The skin on my face, my hand, and my whole body is softer. My kids notice it, my wife notices it, and even friends have said to me they can see it in my face. Oiliness has definitely decreased as well on my face. If I do not moisturize, the skin around my eyes almost becomes chapped.
- Decreased libido, 1-3 months? Mmmm, maybe, and I say that because the way I see sex has already changed, but not sure if that is my libido. Regardless, I don’t think about sex as much as I used to, and the urge to take care of “business” is not the same. I still masturbate, but as I’ve discussed before, there is no urgent need to do it. If the urge strikes and I have the time and inclination I do it. If the urge strikes and I am busy, then I move on. I also don’t think about sex all day long anymore. In fact, when I do it is often to chuckle that I haven’t been thinking about it.
- Decreased spontaneous erections, 1-3 months? Again, maybe. I still get morning wood, often when I have to pee in the morning, but otherwise at 43, these don’t happen anymore for me. Being older I don’t have those problems, and am at the point where manual stimulation is needed. I can still get erect enough for penetration, but physical contact is needed or nothing happening.
- Erectile dysfunction, variable? Probably, I don’t have ED yet, and so I cannot comment as to when this will happen.
- Breast growth, 3-6 months? For me, this was week two, my nipples clearly changed. At three weeks, it was obvious that I had a small amount of breast tissue on the underside of what were my “pecs”, and as a good friend said to me, “Hon, you don’t have pecs anymore, you have breasts” This is clearly evident when comparing my chest to a picture I took of my naked torso a month before HRT. My lower chest is most definitely drooping more, even though I have lost ten pounds since the pre-HRT pic was taken. In addition I have definite breast buds, with breast tissue spreading out to both side from my nipples. I had my wife not only look at, but also feel them. She confirmed that I definitely have breast tissue. I will also admit on breast development that it is completely random as to how fast development will occur and when it will begin. There are girls like me who see breast growth earlier, and then there are those who see little in the first year. Perhaps my size, existing fat, and genetics gave me the perfect storm, and while I have tissue, my breasts may not grow much in the next month. Regardless my days of going shirtless in public are past me.
- Decreased testicular volume, 3-6 months? Mine still seem the same size, but they are reacting differently to stimulation. I notice that they are more sensitive in a pleasurable way, and that just before orgasm, while they’ve always moved up, now they not only move up, but they climb up into my body as I’m about to orgasm. This is something new, and I don’t know if it happens to others, but I just want to make note of it.
- Decreased sperm production, variable? I think this has started, but am not measuring it, just my own “scientific” observation. I still have production, but it does seem that what comes out is a little less than before HRT. In addition, I only have noticed a decrease beginning in the fourth week on HRT.
- Hair in general, 6-12 months? I can’t speak to this at all. I haven’t noticed anything on this front. In addition, I begin laser hair removal this coming Friday, and so that will obviously skew anything I do notice.
- Male Pattern Baldness: I don’t have MPB, and so I can’t speak to it, although I do have an area in the front of my hair line that hasn’t receded, but has thinned a little. I am hoping it eventually comes back. Girls I know, who have seen hair regrowth, have told me they didn’t see this happen until around the seven month mark, so I will keep an eye on my hairline, and report when I do notice something, if anything.
Now, as for measurements…well, I think there has been a significant change based upon measurements taken on day one, and at the end of the first month on HRT.
Day 1, Month 1 measurements:
- Weight: 244lbs
- Chest: 42.5 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 2 measurements
- Weight: 238lbs
- Chest: 41 inches
- Waist: 36 inches
- Pant/male waist: 38 inches
- Hips: 41.5 inches
- Neck: 15.5 inches
- Bicep: 14.25 inches
- Wrist: 6.75 inches
- Ankle: 9 inches
Up until my first month on HRT, I had been averaging over ten pounds lost a month, but this past month I did not lose as much weight, and saw a significant loss in inches on my body. I found this fascinating, as again, I literally lost an inch in some places going from week three to week four, at around the same time I noticed a change to the right side of my mid-section.
As for my face, other than skin I haven’t really noticed any changes. It is possible that my chin is more prominent now, but that could also be due to weight loss, or simply to having had a beard for the past ten years. My point is I don’t jump up to claim HRT did it, but I can’t argue with the difference in measurements. I really am in awe of my body right now.
All this talk of body, and I haven’t talked about my brain at all, and this is where I am most happy with the changes from HRT. The first week on HRT I felt awful, and then during the second week my brain began to right itself. By the third week it felt like the storm in my brain had ceased, and for the first time I felt “right.” It’s hard to describe, but I do see the world differently, and I’m more thoughtful now in how I might react to something said or done, and before I speak or react…most of the time. My emotions are available to me, and sometimes they react before my brain, but I don’t mind this. I have cried more in the past month than in the past ten years, and I wouldn’t give this up for the world. A week ago, for the first time since I was a child, I had a cleansing cry that left me feeling lighter afterwards. It was wonderful, for someone, who for most of her adult life was not able to cry even when she desperately wanted to.
Subconsciously, I have caught myself physically moving or expressing more in a feminine manner at times. One of the first things I noticed is how I now cross my arms. I realized about a week ago that I no longer cross my arms over my chest, and without conscious thought started to cross my arms under my chest. This simple change amazed me. Other things I’ve noticed might be the way I stand, sit, or hold something while walking, or simply the way I walk. Whenever I notice something, and realize I wasn’t consciously doing it, I find myself laughing in amazement. I only catch it maybe 2-5 times in a day, but the point is that these things aren’t happening with conscious thought.
I also am finding that I have to work harder to mask Allie, and be “him”. It’s a chore I do not enjoy, but I do it for my job and family. However, I do find myself wanting to avoid situations where I have to play “him”, and if it isn’t necessary I avoid placing myself in those situations. I’ve even started cutting certain things out of my life in order to avoid playing boy.
I also finding a desire, at times, to battle my timetable for transition. It’s the pubescent teenager in me that desires to run when the right thing to do is to walk. My body is changing, but has a long way to go, and most of my changes can not be seen when clothed. I’m not stupid about this, and luckily I have a wife and friends who are accepting that I am female, and who treat me as the woman I am.
I now find comfort and joy in female friendships. I feel free to express as myself around friends I am out to, and I am lucky to have made some new friends in the past month. It means so much to be accepted as myself. While I have many wonderful friends on social media, and feel free to express to them, it is not the same as being able to get together to talk and spend physical time with other women. Physical contact/presence really does affect me on a new level now, and in a way that is definitely positive for me.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with how things are progressing on HRT, and am so happy that I’ve accepted myself and am moving forward. The fact that my brain feels “right” is all the validation I need to know that transition is what I need most right now. I can’t wait to see what “Month Two” has in store for me, and future months as well. I will admit I can’t see myself in the mirror yet, but there have been a couple moments where I thought I almost could. My body is another matter, and while still very masculine in build, there are also definitely feminine elements that are showing up when looking at my naked body, and that does help me to feel more feminine. These positives often give me the gas I need to move through another week with a positive attitude.
“What if I was truly alone?” This thought hit me on the way to work this morning, and it terrified me. “What if my wife told me to leave?” I haven’t told my parents or my brother that I’m transgender yet. My wife and kids know, a cousin knows, friends at work, but not the people I grew up with in the same house. Why haven’t I told them yet?
I keep telling myself that I’m waiting for more changes to happen first, but is that really going to make the shock easier to bear for them? Is it going to make it somehow easier for them to wrap their minds around, or to dispel forty years of the person they thought/believed they knew? I don’t think there is anything that makes it easier, but it is something they have to accept if they want to be in my life, and I really would like that. I really would like them to know the real me. I really want my parents to get to know their daughter, and my brother to get to know his sister. I hope they can get to a place where they want that as well, and I hope that it will come sooner rather than later.
Yesterday, I spoke with my mother, and every time she asks me what is going on with me, I want to tell her. Heck, I’ve been calling her less than I usually do, because it is so hard to not tell her, and then I feel like I’m lying because I don’t. I have this huge thing going on and I’m not sharing it with the biggest cheerleader I’ve ever had. It’s hard, and even now I fight back tears as I think about my relationship with her. I grew up closer to my mom than my dad. I was more bookish, like her, and more open with my feelings. I also wanted to be like her, but never shared that with her. My mom has become far more liberal and open as she has gotten older, and so I think she will be the first to get past it and accept me, but she may also have it even harder as I’m her first, her baby, and sometimes that makes it really hard for mothers to let go. I can only hope that when I write her letter, it will express in such a way that when she calls me to talk, the first words out of her mouth will be that she loves me and she is there for me.
As for my father? I grew up striving to be like him, seeing him as image of what I was supposed to be as a man, and I fashioned my adult male persona after him, at least as much as I could. I always wanted his love, and even more his respect and admiration. If he ever reads this, I don’t say the next part to hurt, it’s how I felt/feel. I love him so much, so I don’t want him to ever think I thought he loved me any less, but I did feel often while growing up that my brother was his favorite. I know as an adult that he related to my brother better, and duh, that should be obvious why, especially now. However, growing up I often wondered what I could do to change that, but never could figure it out. As an adult I figured it out to a point. Work hard, be a good parent, make good decisions and I earned his respect. By forty I finally felt like I had earned what I always sought. At least that’s what I thought/how I felt. I will say that I know he has always loved me to death, and would do anything for me. He doesn’t always say it, more as he’s gotten older, but his biggest concern in life is that we are safe. I want to believe this will be his biggest concern when he finds out. One of the safest places I’ve ever been in life, at least in my mind, along with some of my warmest memories are when he’d wrap me up in a hug, the smell of his cologne, and the feeling of absolute security that would envelope me. Dad would make sure everything was OK. He’d always keep me safe. Part of me still believes that, even while my adult self says that’s my job. His love and support just might do what part of me still believes it can…make everything OK, and keep me safe. I think he will come around. It may 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…My daddy loves me, and would never do anything to ever hurt me.
And then there is my brother. Three years younger, he has always been somewhat easy going and accepting. I think it may be easiest for him, but I could also be wrong the opposite way as I was his “big brother” and all that went with it. I’d look out for him, be protective of him, bail him out when he’d get in trouble, and we’ve had some great adventures together in our younger adult years. I love him to death, and would drop anything if he needed me. I love his kids to death as well. I have to think his worries will about how his kids and wife take it. He will think of his family and how they will explain it to the kids. Both are still young, and so I think the handling of it won’t be bad, but one can never know for sure. If I know my brother, I think I will get a call one day telling me that he may not get it, but that he loves me and if that is who I am then it may take a little time but he accepts me and will have to get used to it.
Now, if all this goes south, and they go in a direction I can’t imagine, I’m not sure what I will do. I know my wife will be protective of me on this matter, and that she will be there for me, but to be rejected by those you love is never an easy thing. In this case could be earth shattering on some level. I have to be ready that this could happen, and so it is another reason I choose to send letters. It gives them a chance to process and reach out when they are in good places, and if they’re not…well, I can always hang up the phone. My father taught me to only put on paper that which you are willing for the world to see, and so I will put to paper my authentic self, and my love of my family. I am happy to share those things with the world.
If the letters I will eventually post can help one other trans person navigate their own coming out in a positive way, then the sharing will be worth it. This is no easy thing, and I anticipate the writing of the letters to be a major cry-fest. This has, by far, been the most emotional post I have written to date, and I get why. It’s the most emotional thing I have grappled with since freeing my emotions, and I’ve been in tears throughout the writing of it, having to stop several times as I wrestle with my feelings. That’s how it should be, isn’t it? We should feel emotional about those we love, and hope they feel the same about us.
In the end, I believe this is just a reboot to the relationship with my family. They will get a better me, a more engaged me, and a me that no longer feels she needs to hide her real self. The positive me can’t help but think, “How can they not want to know the real me?” I’m so much a better person than “he” ever was. I am actually happy with who I am for the first time ever, and what’s not to love about that?
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.
(Update: I just re-did my voice sample in a conversational manner and also shared my natural voice at the end. This is how I will do voice samples in the future…as it’s how I talk. There is no doubt pitch is deeper, but with improvements to voice patterns, etc. I think this will do me well in the end.)
Last month I posted a voice sample and said I would share one each month moving forward to track my progress and to get feedback from others as to what they think. I appreciate honest criticism, but please do not get nasty. I’m trying to decide if I need to pay a voice coach, or if I simply need to keep practicing.
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.