body changes

HRT: Month 2 Update

2-monthsTwo months down already, and so I’m back to talk about where I’m at and everything new that happened during my second month of HRT.

This time around I’m going to start with my measurement changes, and from there I will talk about everything else….so without further ado, lets get into it.

Day 1, Month 1 measurements:

  • Weight:  244lbs
  • Chest:  42.5 inches (underbust:  41 inches)
  • Waist:  38 inches
  • Pant/male waist:  40 inches
  • Hips:  43 inches
  • Neck:  16 inches
  • Bicep:  15 inches
  • Wrist:  7 inches
  • Ankle:  9.5 inches

Day 1, Month 3 measurements:

  • Weight:  239.2lbs
  • Chest:  40.5 inches (underbust:  38 inches)
  • Waist:  35 inches
  • Pant/male waist:  37.5 inches
  • Hips:  41.5 inches
  • Neck:  15 inches
  • Bicep:  14 inches
  • Wrist:  6.5 inches
  • Ankle:  9 inches

So, I did gain two pounds from the beginning of the month, but my measurements continued to shrink, regardless of the slight weight gain, and that makes me extremely happy.  I thought I’d break the change discussion into three categories:  physical, mental, and parental warning:  sexual.  In my mind changes this month were just as significant as the first, and in some ways maybe more.  At least, for me they were.

Physical Changes

Breast Development:  I woke up the second day of HRT month two with an ache in my breasts that hasn’t left since it started.  Month one saw the beginning of my breast development and month two saw it continue.  I also saw my chest muscle continue to soften while my bra size went from a 42A to a 40B.  I’m becoming more comfortable talking about it as I probably should wear something everyday, but I don’t.  This is partly due to work, as I will admit if I were full time I’d be going bra shopping instead of wearing shelf camisoles and bralettes.  For now, the latter is good enough due to the significant chest muscle I still have, but as it goes more and more  I have a feeling I”m going to need more support.  At this point, I get the pain of running up and down stairs, or even just running period…like, it really hurts.  Funny enough, the pain makes me smile, as it simply reminds me that I’m finally getting the body I’ve always wanted.

Fat Distribution:  This really started to show during the second month, as I’ve started  to notice a softening to the way my muscles show through the skin.  The first place I noticed this was on my torso, specifically my midsection.  For those that follow me on Facebook and Twitter I did post comparison pictures that highlighted these changes:

 

The first picture above was taken a month before HRT and the second picture was six weeks on HRT.  Along with the redistribution which you can see, my skin is much softer as well.  My legs which have always been chiseled, are still defined but slightly smaller, and they now have a slightly softer look to them, which I only noticed in the past week.

Estrogen redistributes fat into female patterns, but won’t actually move fat, however it will make use of what you have where it needs it, and I’ve seen this start to happen on my hips, my chest, and my butt.  I haven’t seen much start to happen with my face, but it will come when it does.  While weight didn’t come off in the last month, my body fat percentage is right where it should be.  I’m currently sitting at about 24% body fat, and the ideal body fat for a 43 year old woman is 22.5%.  Knowing this, my goal is now to make sure it doesn’t go up while trying to continue to shed weight.  As the muscle starts to shed, the weight should go down…or I have to make sure it does.  I think I have a pretty good handle on this, and am excited to see when this starts to happen.

Muscle Mass:  It seems to be on the decline, but as I’ve learned from other girls it does seem the strength is starting to go faster than the actual muscle.  This started with muscle endurance first, but in the last week I’ve noticed that certain things have gotten just a little heavier, which I’m just fine with.  I’ve noticed my arms are thinning out, as is my chest, and my legs.  My shoulders and my back muscles are still hanging on, and I can’t wait for them to start going as well, but the other changes are enough to tide me over and give me confidence that they will soon start to go as well.  On another note, while I continue to work my legs by doing cardio, just having a snowball fight the other day with the kids has my back and obliques sore like I put them through a workout.  I think I need to start doing some plank exercises as part of a maintenance routine until my body gets to a size where I can introduce strength training again.

Overall, my physical changes have me excited and have had me buying new female clothes, while getting rid of older male clothes.  Nothing fancy or super expensive as my body still has quite a bit of changing to do, but I’ve noticed other than slim or skinny fit, most men’s pants seem to leave a bit too much room in the legs and butt.  Not sure how this happened as they still look big to me, but clothes fit the way they fit, and clearly they’re starting to fit me differently.  All that said, my women’s jeans seem to be fitting me better, and I can’t wait to see what the next few months have in store.

Miscellaneous:  My skin continues to get softer and at the end of month one, confirmed in month two I can say that I no longer smell like a boy.  My sweat doesn’t stink and neither do my armpits.   I can wear the same sports bra for multiple workouts without the stink factor arising immediately.  I’ve also started to get more sensitive to heat and cold, which is a nice change of pace as I’m not always on the verge of sweating like in days past!

 

Mental Changes

This continues to be a place that in many ways gives me the greatest satisfaction, but also causes some turmoil at times.  In the last month I continue to feel more myself, and when with people, especially other women that know “me,” it has become almost impossible for me not to express female.  It is something that I now do unconsciously, and only realize it once I am in conversation.  I have to remind myself when with people I don’t know to pull it back a little.

It becomes harder to put on guy clothes each work day, and go to work.  I still do it, but it does cause me anxiety that is worse at the beginning of the week.  It gets better as the week goes on and I get closer to the weekend.  I know this is totally normal, and I deal as best I can, because it is what I need to do for the time being, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I hope my changes start coming even faster so I can stop playing the “boy” charade.  As the brain changes faster, it is impossible for the body to keep up.  You get to a point where you just want to be you, and I understand why some gals go full-time so quickly.  The temptation is there for me too!  However, while I know I am a woman, when I go full time at work I want people to see that as well.  It is important to me that this happen, and remembering that will keep me on the path that I’ve laid out for me.

This past week, I forgot for the first time, while at the store that I was playing boy.  I had just finished paying and the cashier said, “Thank you, sir.  Have a great day!”  I paused for a second before responding because my brain went, he just called you sir!  You’re not a sir…oh wait, yeah, right…  Afterwards it made me laugh, and while it might cause others dysphoria…I was presenting male, and it also gave me a warm fuzzy to realize my brain, and how I see myself has intrinsically changed for the better.  It’s not something that’s going to make me sad.  However, I will admit that if I had been presenting female and been “sirred” then it certainly would have messed with me in a bad way, so I think it important to set the distinction down.

Finally, the way in which I interact with others continues to change, and the way other’s who know me, especially women, confirms this.  I now care more, think of others more, and continue to relate to other women better than before.  This is not to say women have the market cornered on caring or being empathetic, but it’s the way I go about it, and I know I’m doing a poor job of describing it, but it’s just something I know has changed about myself.  I see it in my interactions with my wife and kids as well.  Much of this could also have to do with just being happy with who I am now.  There is no discounting that not all mental changes are due to HRT directly…some are simply down to feeling good about my future.

(Warning…) Sexual Changes

Changes here are minor this month, and so there isn’t much to say.  For one, I didn’t have much of a desire to experiment or test things, and so I simply didn’t.  I typically don’t think about sex unless I’m going to fantasize, and while I will admit the nature of my fantasies has changed, both when I’m awake or when dreaming (I’m never a man or  have male anatomy anymore).  As for physical, I might be seeing slight shrinkage of my testicles, but not entirely sure at this point.  I’m also continuing to see a decreased volume of what comes out, and the consistency is becoming more watery in nature.

Wrap-Up

Overall, I am happy with the changes I’m seeing as I continue moving forward.  I see my doctor on the 20th, and I hope to increase both my spiro and my estrodiol.  Still waiting to see a couple big ticket things start to change, but it give me something to look forward to, and so I will continue to eye my future with positivity.

Letter to Mom

Mom

My parents and brother should be getting their letters today and so I wanted to begin to post those letters here.  As I’ve said before, I am using this blog to chronicle my transition, and this is a huge part of how it will go.  In addition, if this letter can help someone else craft their own message to loved ones then I am happy to share it here.  Names have been removed for privacy, and the journal entry I reference is the very first post on my home page, modified for greater brevity.  I will post the personal sides to my Dad and brother tomorrow…the body for all three is almost identical and you can see it here.  Hopefully they all respond as I expect them to and I will have something positive to write about next week, but either way I will write about honestly and from the heart.

Here is the letter as it was sent to my Mom:

Dear Mom,

I’ve thought long and hard about how I wanted to share the news I am about to share with you.  I opted to write a letter because I have always been better with expressing what I wanted to say on paper, and because I want to give you the opportunity to process and think about what I am about to share with you.  What I am about to tell you may not be easy for you to accept but it is real and it is happening.  Dad and Brother have or will be getting similar letters that I have written just for them.  I am sure you will probably talk to them before you talk to me, and that’s OK.  I know you will have concerns, worries, and questions and I am here to answer those questions when you are ready to talk.  This will be an emotional situation for all involved, and I am seriously exposing myself here like I will do for only my family.

By now you may be thinking I’m dying or some equally bad shit is happening, and I don’t want to draw out the tension any further, and so I will simply cut to the chase.  Over the past year I’ve been examining so much of who I am.  Part of it had to do with Daughter’s coming out and a big part of it had to do with something medically that was discovered about me.  Let me say right now…I am not dying, but mentally I was heading towards self-harm if I didn’t face certain truths about myself.

I want to begin with a quick biology lesson.  Everyone pretty much accepts that males are born with 46XY chromosomes and females are born with 46XX chromosomes.  This is pretty basic, but I found out I am not basic.  Doctors are pretty certain I was born with 46XY and 46XX chromosomes which makes me what is known as chimera intersex.  They know this because I have both XY and XX blood cells in my body, and that is typically the only way this can happen.  Unfortunately, this can only be confirmed in the womb or on an autopsy table, because it literally would mean my body is a patchwork of XY and XX on the inside.  I could have a kidney that is XX and a kidney that is XY.  The lining of my stomach could be XX, and the rest of my stomach could be XY.  I could have muscles that are XX and muscles that are XY (doctors think my right side might be heavily influenced by XX chromosomes).  Finally, parts of my brain and endocrine system could be XX as well.

How does this happen?  Well, most likely scenario is that there were two eggs fertilized, one male and one female.  As they descended right after conception the two zygotes fused together to become one.  If it had happened a little after it did then conjoined twins result, but instead I got lucky and hit the sweet spot…so essentially I absorbed my female twin and we became one person.

I’m intersex, now what?  Well, obviously there is more to it than that, and you may already have an idea of where I am going with this.  If I was born today, then doctors could have run the test that would have told them this, and they could have shared with you that based upon the Surgeon General’s recommendations that I should be allowed to grow up and determine my gender at puberty, as there is no way of knowing how I will feel as I get older, and how my brain will identify.  Unfortunately, I was born in 1974, before the test could be run, and when gender was simply decided by what could be seen with the eyes.

Without writing an autobiography connecting dots throughout my life (I’ve included a journal entry I wrote that discusses this to a point and am happy to talk about this if you need me to help you see those dots), suffice it to say I have known since the age of 5 that I was different.  I never felt like I fit in anywhere, but I also knew that talking about some of the feelings I had wouldn’t fly, and so I pushed them down and tried to be more like dad, be more like my friends, and simply keep so much to myself.  I wasn’t happy with myself as a child.  I know you can remember issues I had and much of those were tied to how I felt.  These feelings never went away, I just learned how to hide them better, and when you thought they might be for one reason, well, I just let you assume rather than tell you the truth.

As I got older I was both attracted to girls and jealous of what they had that I did not…on so many levels.  I sucked it up, and pushed on.  I would often find myself saying things like “If I was a girl…” always rationalizing that I could never be, and that I just had to make the best of what I had.  This would continue, the pattern of longing and denial until last year.  Daughter’s coming out made me face my past as I accepted that I could no longer run.  Coupled with finding out I was intersex these two things basically caused me to have a nervous breakdown this past summer.

Awareness of who I was, and internalized shame and self-hate had me verbally lashing out at Wife and the kids all summer, to the point that she was within weeks of taking the kids and leaving me, and I had no clue.  Finally, I accepted that I am intersex and also choose to identify as transgender.  Once I accepted this I talked with Wife and explained that I needed to get therapy.  I started therapy in August, and in October I also started hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to begin a transition to change my body from male to female.  Wife knows and accepts that I have to do this, and we have also told the kids.  At this time, things have calmed down and things are better than they have been in a long time within the family.  As for Wife and I, only time will tell, but she has been nothing short of amazing in her support, and knows that if I didn’t do this I would end up dead before 50.  I can also tell you that for the first time in my life, my brain feels calm and relaxed.  It feels “right.”

I am sure by now you’re looking at this saying “What the fuck?” and probably stunned or questioning how this is possible, or if I’ve lost my mind, or any number of scenarios.  All I can say is that this is 100% real, and it isn’t going away.  However, much thought has gone into the process of my transition to do it in the most responsible way possible.  The next time you see me I will not be in makeup and a dress.  HRT takes time to make changes and some have started, but if you were to see me right now, I don’t look any different.  For all involved, including myself, I am making a slow transition, meaning that I don’t anticipate major changes to how I live for at least 1.5 to 2 years, but physical changes could speed up or slow that timetable down.  My plan is to have a first round of surgeries before I’d go full time, and typically good surgeons want you to be on HRT for 1-2 years before they would even do surgery.

As for name and pronouns…I am good with the current ones for now.  I don’t expect people to call me she if I’m still out as a man in most ways.  I’m sure there will come a time when I want that to change, but for now I am ok.  When that time comes I will let you know, and we can deal with it then.

Now for my personal note to you:

I’ve been calling you less than I usually do, because it has been so hard not to tell you, and when I don’t I feel like I’m lying to you.  I have this huge thing going on and I’m not sharing it with the biggest cheerleader I’ve ever had.  Growing up I always felt like I was closer to you than dad.  That isn’t to say I loved you more, but that I identified with you more than him, regardless of how hard I tried to identify and be like him.  I had similar interests to you, was able to talk to you more easily, and I wanted desperately to be more like you, but I also knew I wasn’t, and most of my childhood believed that I could never be, so what was the point in wishing for something I could never have.

I did try on your clothes/cross dress up until a certain age.  I started to do this in 3rd grade.  I can still remember the first time I did it.  I’m sorry for that invasion of your privacy, and I can’t tell you why I did it the first time, but once I started I couldn’t stop until I got too big, and then I stopped because of a couple incidents where I did get caught by both you and dad.

I don’t want to rehash the past, or play the “what if?” game.  We talked in September about what would you have done if you and dad had to deal with this in the early 80s, and how you wouldn’t have known what to do.  Nobody would have.  It’s not like I ever said anything, and I don’t think there is any way you could have known.  I also don’t want you and dad to beat yourselves up over the fact that it took me until my forties to come out.  This isn’t on either of you, or anything you did or didn’t do.  It just is, and I wasn’t able to put words to it until recently.

I think you know how hard this is for me to tell you, and I hope you can still love me, and that you will still want to be a part of my life, but I also must accept as I write this that there is the chance that I could be completely wrong, and so I partly write and send a letter to protect myself.  Next to Wife, there are three people in the world that have the power to lift me up and the power to destroy me.  You, Dad, and Brother are those three people.  As for the rest, I couldn’t give two shits what they think.  I’m past worrying about pleasing others, or trying to be what I think they want me to be.

When you decide to pick up the phone and call me I want you to remember the following things as they are important to me.  Please do not call me in disbelief, anger, or the notion that you can get me to change my mind, or that this is a joke, or that it’s a phase, or that I’ve lost my mind.  Those things are non-starters for me.  Also, please don’t tell me that I’m going to fast…I’m 43 now, and have known I was different since 5…there is no such thing as too fast from where I stand. 

So what can we talk about?  You can ask me questions, about the past, about me currently, or about the future.  You can ask me how I’m doing.  You can give me your love and support.  You can simply talk to me like you always have.  I’m still the same person on the inside, except I no longer feel burdened by having to hide things in my private life.

If I don’t hear from you, then I will know you can’t accept it yet, or you have anger and other issues to work through, and that is ok.  I will have to accept that, learn to deal with it, and live my life, because I can’t go backwards.

Please help Dad and Brother to understand if they need it.  You are my mom, and I think of everyone you may accept it faster than they do.  I can’t imagine a world where you would give up on me, or Dad for that matter, even if this is one of the hardest things you’ve ever had to deal with as parents.  Dad can’t talk to me and ask questions, but he can email me or text me if he needs to, and I will tell him that.  I know you guys will be worried and scared for me, and as my parents I would expect nothing else.  I am scared and worried for myself at times, but I also know that I don’t have a choice in this…for the first time I understand why someone might want to kill themselves over this, because I know the circumstances where I would do so, and it is a sobering realization. 

Finally, I want you to know that I will be ok, and that I know what I am doing, as much as anyone can.  I’m actually looking forward to what the future brings…for the first time in my life.  I hope that you will be part of that future, and I hope to hear from you soon.

I love you,

My Style…Right Now

Secret-Shopping-Tricks

So, if you follow me on Twitter or are a friend on Facebook then you know that I have mailed out my “Coming Out” letters to family.  As such, I’m nervous and anxious, so I figured I’d stick to a light and fun post today…and leave the serious post for after I hear back from my parents.  There is much I want to talk about on that front, but will save that for early next week most likely.

With that being said, I wanted to talk about the expansion of my expression last week, and how away from work it is very hard for me to simply wear “guy” clothes anymore.  However, there is a vast array of clothing that fits my casual style, and can present more androgynous if the outfit is put together a certain way.  I’m not one for skirts and dresses yet, because I simply do not have the body for either, and at least for me I won’t wear things that don’t make me look good.  Just because I love the red patterned pencil skirt paired with the creme colored silk 3/4 sleeve blouse in the window at the mall doesn’t mean I think it will look good on me.  Wearing things that make me feel “mannish” doesn’t make me feel better or pretty, it makes me feel horrible.  Just because they make it in my size, also doesn’t mean it will look good on me, and it is a must that however I present…I do it well.

So, all that said, what do I buy and what do I wear?  I know style, and I dressed my wife for years.  I put together outfits that look good on me, and fit my sense of self.  I am an outdoorsy hippie girl for the most part, and so my casual style reflects that.  I am also a trans woman in her early forties, and so I also keep that in mind.  The idea is to present well, and not to get clocked.  I’m all for another girl wearing what she wants, but I don’t need to wear dresses and heels to tell me I’m a female.  This seems to be an overriding assumption of many people that trans women have to wear dresses and makeup…and it’s bullshit.

I’m an athlete who loves to play soccer, and I’m a backpacker with over 3,000 miles hiked…I wear clothing that suits who I am…not who the world thinks I should be.  So feel free to check out some of the items I bought to allow me to feel more comfortable in my own skin as my transition moves along.

Before getting into my clothing purchases below, I wanted to highlight something and that is the beauty of online shopping.  Currently I wear a 14/16 in pants, and am certain my ass looks better than most women who wear the same size (cis or trans), but I wear an 18/20 (XXL) in tops, unless tanks and then I can wear an XL in most.   For the trans woman just beginning to spread her wings most major retailers offer extended sizing and the freedom to shop without the constant lurking sales girl who tends to follow you throughout an actual physical store.  Most retailers offer free returns, and so I make it a habit of ordering what I want in multiple sizes as I’m between two at the moment.  I can try things on in the comfort of my home and return the sizes that do not work for me.  This is especially nice for foundational wear, as I’m nowhere near the point where I feel comfortable going into a dressing room to try on bras, etc.

Now…onto the clothing (I’ve included hyper links to all clothing still available online for anyone interested)…and I will note that the only thing I’ve actually tried on to date is a pair of jeans I already own.  The rest will be arriving in the coming days.

North Face Mascot Ringer T-Shirts

For me, after a day of work I am all about comfort, as I am most weekends.  Still being bigger in the shoulders and back it isn’t easy to find women’s shirts in XXL sizing.  North Face does carry a large number.  I love these colors and graphics…and can layer with long sleeve shirts underneath on a winter day along with a fleece or down vest.

North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Pants

Being a soccer player and hiker I have bigger legs, which are still heavily muscled.  I actually like my legs, but not all pants seem to fit them.  The Aphrodite pant is perfect for the outdoors or for just chilling around town.  I spend most of my time outside of work running around with the kids, and so casual is what I want.  The pants are definitely for women, but also don’t bring a second glance in public which is what I want where I currently am at in transition.

North Face Morninglory 2 Jacket

North Face Morninglory 2 Fleece Jacket

Again, bigger shoulders means I need to deemphasize.  It also means I need to find XXL jackets and the Morninglory 2 fits that bill.  I got it in the vintage white above, and can’t wait for it to come.  This is much more my style for winters in north Georgia.

Prana Halle Pants & Prana Louisa Pants

These pants are right up my alley (no pun intended!).  I’ve had my eye on the Louisa pants for awhile and and the Halle pants come recommended by a friend as her go to pants.  Again, they’re the perfect about town pants, or equally as good for outdoor gatherings which suits me just fine.

Keen Jasper

Keen Jasper

So, I bought these shoes because I needed some cute outdoorsy shoes, and I’ve loved the Keen brand for awhile.  Obviously I bought these with the clothes that I’m getting in mind.  The link above is to the woman’s shoe, but they also have them in many of the same colors in men’s sizing for us gals with bigger feet.  I’ve already got my eye on the black ones with the purple laces, but went with the ones above for my initial purchase.

American Eagle Skinny Jeans & American Eagle Skinny Kick Jeans

I LOVE American Eagle jeans.  I’ve bought the male versions for awhile, and already have a lighter pair of the women’s skinny jeans which are my favorite pair now.  They have just the right amount of stretch, and I think my legs look great in them.  I decided to order the darker pair of skinny, and then after finding my old cowboy boots decided to go ahead and get the Kick Jeans as well.  Online AEO sells them in extended sizing up to 20, and in short, regular, long, and extra long.

Gap Sweater

Gap Long-Sleeved Open Front Cardigan

Love these over-sized sweaters as they de-emphasize the shoulders and can be worn with just about anything.  They’re also usually super comfy.  I already have a similar one from American Eagle, and decided to take a chance on this one from Gap as I got it for less than half the original price on Cyber Monday.  I usually need a Tall, but am hoping that the regular XXL will do the trick as I want it to fit more loosely on me.  For me, I’m all about over-sized sweaters and have a feeling these will be staple in my wardrobe for some time to come.

Gap Bralette

Gap Seamless Racerback Bralette

I am at the point that I do need some extra support at times, or by the end of the day I can be somewhat sore.  As I’m not a fan of pain I’ve gone to wearing bralettes under tank tops and shirts now.  I’m hoping that these seamless ones will hide better under male dress shirts and so I picked up one in the above color and one in white.

Aerie Boybrief & Aerie Hi-Cut Bikini

Aerie is becoming a staple in my closet, and while designed for younger women…I love their stuff and find it well made.  I’m especially falling in love with their undies.  Made of better materials than what Victoria’s Secret is using today, I decided to start switching over as I’m about to go down an undie size.  Last week they were running a crazy deal, 10 pairs for $35!  Too good to pass up so I ordered ten pairs all in my smaller size.  I’m a huge fan of their Shine line, but have also decided to try a couple other materials with this order.  The Boybrief is akin to most lines’ hipster undies, and when they have them the hi-cut bikinis are some of the most comfortable I’ve ever worn, considering the junk I have to smuggle around…plus their undies are just plain cute.

                       Kavu Rope Sling Bag & Kavu Mondo Spender Wallet

One thing most women know is that women’s pants pockets are almost purely decoration, and so I am sick of carrying things in my hands whenever I wear them.  Plus I also have a need/desire to start carrying more things with me.  The Kavu bag is outdoorsy, which fits my style, and is androgynous enough to fill the role of a first purse/bag for me.  Obviously, I also need a wallet as I can’t stand the wallet bulge that is really noticeable in women’s jeans.  This is a big step for me, and I actually can’t wait for them to come in the mail.

 

So, now those who follow me have a pretty good idea of my casual style in the evening and on weekends.  All told I spent close to $1,000 this week, but considering I have almost nothing in my female wardrobe any woman knows that really isn’t much money at all.  Depending on how everything fits once it comes in, I may order another pair of Prana pants, and a couple more North Face t-shirts, but we’ll see how that goes.

UGH…Dysphoria!

tumblr_nx7bzoPvTg1ueo1azo1_500I’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.

HRT UPDATE

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.