sexuality

Month Five HRT Update

5 MonthsFive months already?  As much as I feel like things don’t move fast enough, even I have to admit that time has  really flown by.  Months three and and four were not easy months for me, as I grappled with numerous emotional issues.  While I still continue to grapple with some of those same issues at times, month five was overall a very positive month for me.  I saw not only an interesting physical change, but some key emotional and sexual ones as well, so there were a few firsts that have me excited for what month six and beyond will bring.

As usual I will share measurement changes, followed by discussing physical, emotional, and finally sexual changes.  As is my habit, I will clearly denote a warning before the section discussing anything sexual.

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 6 measurements:

  • Weight:  229 lbs
  • Chest:  40 inches (underbust:  37.5 inches)
  • Waist:  34 inches
  • Pant/male waist:  36 inches
  • Hips:  40.5 inches
  • Neck:  14.5 inches
  • Bicep:  13.25 inches
  • Wrist:  6.30 inches
  • Ankle:  8.5 inches

Physical Changes

As last months update was posted late, and very abbreviated I wanted  to share the reminder that changes discussed here are those physical changes that do not necessarily pertain to the measurements above.  Those speak for themselves.  I will mention one measurement of note.  My hips have gone up a half an inch while my waist and pant waist have dropped another inch.  I think both are clearly from the impact of HRT, as I only lost three pounds in month five, and yet saw losses, while also gaining fat on my bottom, which has clearly changed.  In conjunction with this change, the most amazing physical change of month five is that my pelvis has tilted forward into a cis female position.  While my bones are set, the ligaments and tendons holding my hips have loosened, allowing my hips to roll forward.  This has also given me greater flexibility when it comes to bending at the waist.  As I also practice yoga, I  can verify I have greater range of motion than I had before, and this is largely due to greater extension when I bend over.

While I continue hair removal, I also believe that I am starting to see some hair loss/lightening on my extremities.  My hands and feet have less dark hair, and my back is almost completely clear except for a few stray hairs that will hopefully go away on their own.  As for my head hair, I am seeing some new hair (not a lot) sprouting up in the front center of my hairline, which gives me hope that I will see more come back in the future.

Facial and body changes continue to occur, but are subtle.  My face continues to thin, and my jawline is changing.  If it goes like I think it will, then in a few months it will just be… different.

Emotional Changes

On the emotional front I find much of my old “male” defensiveness and ego “needs” to have faded away.  I realized this during an online interaction with a friend.  I thought I had possibly hurt her feelings with a joke I had shared (I wasn’t sure, and I hadn’t), and my immediate concern was to make sure she was OK.  In the past my concern would have been to justify what I had said and if she had been upset then I would have probably have said she was over-reacting or blowing the issue out of proportion.  I find that I don’t care about that anymore.  I don’t feel the need to justify  my actions or to always win on an issue, the feelings of a friend and our friendship are more important to me.  The “Whys” of something can be talked about later.

I thought I understood what friendship was before, but the friendships I have now with other women are deeper and more complex than anything I ever had with a male friend.  I am often left in awe and humbled by the women who accept me without question and call me friend.  To date this might be the most rewarding benefit of transition that I have received.

During Month 5 I have also begun to find that it is becoming harder to play “boy.”  Not only do I find it tiring, but I often consciously have to pay attention to not being “me” too much in front of people I work with.  Luckily, most people see what they want to, and so this insulates me to a degree.  A direct result of this is that I find myself consciously pulling away or withdrawing from interactions with men in my office.  I don’t want to “guy” it up, or interact in a male manner, and so this is one way I limit my need to do so.

I also find myself hating men more and more.  Let me be clear, I don’t hate every man I come across.  On an individual level there are some wonderful men who know about me, accept me, and I have no issue with them.  I’m talking more about the culture of men, and in large part, once again, this has much to do with how I am seen by women as a result of my physical build.  I resent it, and it has really started to grate on me.  As a result when away from work, and without my kids, I often just let my expression go 100%, and the results have been that most women I now encounter identify me as a queer male, and while not the ideal, it is better than straight cis male, as women feel comfortable enough to relax around me, which allows me to have the kind of interactions I prefer without fear of creeping out or making another woman uncomfortable.

Overall, I continue to be happily amazed with my emotional progression on HRT, and in many ways the emotional changes alone make transition worth it.  I have heard other trans women make the same statements before, and it is only in my fifth month that I am really coming to understand how right they were in those statements.  I’ve always felt my brain was female, but now that feeling has been made more complex, with additional levels of feeling and comfort added to it.  I look forward to seeing how this continues to evolve over time.

(Trigger Warning) Sexuality

This probably won’t be that long, but will be meaningful as the changes here are profound for Month 5.

To begin with, my sex drive has plummeted to depths I did not think it could go.  Many days I don’t think about sex at all, and if I do it is more to realize I don’t think about it.  More and more I have no desire for an intimate relationship until such time as my parts have been made right.  Until that time I will do what I need to in order to prevent atrophy and to understand how my body is changing.

A big takeaway this month is that I believe my testicles have finally begun to shrink.  Not much yet, but they do seem a little smaller.  In addition, the way I experience pleasure and arousal have shifted as well.  I no longer am greatly aroused by visual stimuli.  Instead mental stimuli does far more for me, and I really have to let myself go and focus on the pleasure to get myself where I need to go.

I mentioned my testicles, but the nerves in the underside of my penis (which is usually used to create the clitoris of a neo-vagina) have begun to remap, changing the way I can receive pleasure.  At this point I would say I have one foot on each side of the male/female fence.  I can bring myself to climax by using only a vibrator against the underside.  I can also still do it the old way, but usually don’t wish to, and there are reasons for this.  Doing it the old way has changed, in that there is a slower build up before climax, but the build up is much faster making the orgasm quicker.  That said the feelings are more intense than before, and the orgasm actually begins before anything comes out.  Now, with a vibrator all of the above is true, but the buildup takes much longer, and so the pleasure lasts longer as the buildup occurs.  By the time I reach climax the intensity is like nothing I ever felt before, and this is supposed to continue to improve and get better.  I will also say that overall less is coming out, and here there is a difference in that doing things with a vibrator results in very little of anything coming out, while at the same time the feelings like I said are very intense.

Referring back to sex drive, before HRT I would take care of myself every day.  Once I started HRT this continued for a little while, and then went to every other day.  Now I often go 3-5 days between, and usually when I do, I have to talk myself into doing it, because there are other things I’d rather do, like watch TV, or eat Doritos…I’m just being honest, because it takes time now, and sometimes I don’t want to, or don’t have the 20-30 minutes to take care of business, and so I don’t.

Closing

Overall, Month 5 was a month of positive change, and one that made me excited and even impatient for the future.  I look forward to hitting six months as it was a milestone in my head, and am thinking I need to do something special for that update.  Everyone says that Months 6-12 are huge months, and so I’m looking forward to them with anticipation.  As for the first 5 months?  I have been very happy with what I have seen, and I have a renewed hope that I will get to where I want to go in due time.

Apathy…I Don’t Care, and Yet I Do…

Apathy WordleSo, I haven’t written much lately.  This is partly due to it being the busy season at work, and because I have just chosen to do other things with my time, mainly socialize on social media and via text with friends.  Sometimes you need a break from thinking about heavy things, and lately when I’ve had the urge to write, I simply haven’t had the time and then the mood passes.

I titled this post “Apathy” and I don’t want anyone to confuse this as an overall feeling I have for life, because I’m actually more hopeful than anything.  Rather, it is something I realized about my marriage, romantic life, and so much else I just don’t have the energy or desire to focus on.

My wife and I had “the talk” a couple of weeks ago, and it was totally unplanned, as those things often are.  I had enjoyed a good therapy session a couple days prior.  It was one of those sessions where you gain further clarity into who you are, and those are rare.  I decided to open up to my wife a little about why it’s so hard for me to just be 100% female at home.  I started to speak about roles I have always filled, and how hard it is to not slip into them.  She asked me what I meant, and I said, “You know, father, husband…”  She stopped me and said, “I don’t see you that way anymore.  You stopped being that awhile ago.”  The statement should have hurt me.  I should have wanted to fight for her love and affection, but instead, I just accepted what she had said.  She was right, and I was OK with it.

I know it still hurts her on some level and it hurts me as well.  We have been together 20 years, but I think she’s also growing to accept the man she married doesn’t exist, and maybe never did.  She stopped wearing her wedding rings a month before, and didn’t wear them for a week.  She admitted the night we talked that it didn’t feel right,, and she only started wearing them again so the kids don’t ask questions.

We have become roommates and co-parents, both free to make plans with friends that don’t include the both of us.  We still share a bed and bathroom, but that’s also to keep up appearances for the kids.  As a family, we are more solid than we have been in a long time, and the kids are happier than they’ve been in a long time.  We will stay together for the next few years, and then we will see.  I don’t want to stay in a relationship that lacks intimacy, and I don’t think that’s fair to her either.  I also don’t think she can or wants to be intimate with me, especially female me, and that’s OK.

I mention intimacy, and that’s another thing I don’t currently care about.  My sex drive has gone into deep hibernation, and I can detachedly wonder if it will ever come back.  Even if she were to come onto me, I wouldn’t be interested.  My reasons come in two parts.  The first is, as I have said, my sex drive is almost zero at the moment.  I have to seriously talk myself into masturbation, and it takes forever.  I now go several days before remembering I need to do the deed, because I’d rather do that then start getting morning erections…those bother me on a dysphoric level, and so I masturbate now to prevent those, rather than because I feel some urge to “get off.”

My second reason has to do with how much I hate my male body sexually, and that hate has only increased on HRT, as parts of my body feminize putting them at odds with those that are slow to do so.  I am a trans lesbian, and so the women I am attracted to, if I cared to seek a relationship would not be interested in me because my body still appears far more male than female..  Straight women would expect me to want sex like a man, and I just can’t do that anymore, plus when naked, I clearly have breasts.  Anything that I have to do that is “male” takes twice the energy it once did, and so I instead shun those “male” things whenever I can.  Fucking like a man…humping, rutting, pounding away…all those euphemisms for how males go about it turn my stomach.  I’m simply not capable now.  For one who was once so sexually capable as a “man” I have permanently retired from that type of sexual intimacy.  If ever sexually intimate again, it will not be until those defining male parts have been removed/turned into the genitals that fit my mind.

Why did I wait over two weeks to write the above?  I waited so long because so much of the above thoughts are also interlaced with the wonderful.  My female friendships continue to strengthen, while new ones are created.  The acceptance of my femaleness, by women, in many ways is more validating than anything else I’ve experienced so far in transition.  It’s something I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember, and while still imperfect, in that only women who know me as a trans woman can accept me that way…it is still a gift given that I cherish.  To be confided in, and to be able to confide in others, as only women do with one another, gives me so much peace.  I finally get the bonds of female friendship not only on an intellectual level, but on an emotional level I thought I’d never enjoy.  Friendships now give me peace and fuel to persevere, and I, in turn can give that to my friends as well.

I was sharing with a girlfriend the other day that if I think I might have hurt a friend’s feelings I no longer worry about first justifying what I did or said.  Instead, my concern goes to her feelings first, and my desire to make sure she is ok, and to apologize if need be.  Talking about the “why” of what I did can come later.  As a “man” I always felt the need to downplay another’s emotional reaction, or to justify why I was right.  This has been a huge mental shift in how I interact with others, and one that I am thrilled to experience.  I’d rather us laugh about my having over-worried that I hurt a friend’s feelings, than ignore it for the sake of an ego that has no place in my friendships.

My body also continues to change in positive ways, and that makes me happy as well.  I don’t want to talk about it too much, as I have an HRT update that will post early next week, but some really good things happened during Month 5, and I will save those for that post.

Getting back to apathy, it gives me the patience to play the long game.  I still have my moments where I want to hurry, but more of me doesn’t care if I hurry.  I can continue to exist in the world of cis-male privilege a little longer if need be, and I lose nothing.  My body and mind will still continue to develop on HRT, regardless of how I am dressed, and it also gives me the time to get hair removal done, as well as any other little things that need attending to before going full-time.

Apathy isn’t always a bad thing if it helps to temper desires that cannot yet become reality.  Of course, there is the danger that it can come to permeate everything, but that isn’t a worry I currently have.  To be honest, as of late, I’m feeling pretty positive.  Friday I begin my Month 6 on HRT, and I can’t believe how fast the past five months have gone.  Months 6-12 seem to be where so many see big changes and so how can I not be excited to see what happens moving forward.  I feel like like the past few months were setting the foundation of the house, and now the framing and work above ground really can get underway.  I’m psyched to begin seeing what kind of house actually emerges.

What About My Marriage? Early Musings on Where I Think it Might Go.

getty_021017_weddingrings

My marriage has been on my mind quite a bit this past month.  How do I feel about my wife?  How does she feel about me?  Are we in love?  Will we ever be romantic again?  Do I want to stay in a marriage that lacks romantic intimacy?  Is platonic love or staying together for kids a reason to stay married?

I’ve shied away from writing about it on my blog, because I felt like such questions were private until the answers to them could be revealed or resolved, but reading about the Mormon couple, Josh and Lolly Weed, made me decide to write down my thoughts as writing has always proven cathartic for me, and a much better medium for working through tough issues than simply thinking quietly in a  corner.

Josh Weed is a gay man who married a straight woman, and came out five years ago as being gay.  They have a few daughters and have been married 15 years, and the other day he and his wife announced that they would be getting divorced on his blog (Link to post HERE.).  I think most of it, especially Lolly discussing why they are getting a divorce is worth a read, and that there are some significant parallels between a gay man being married to a straight woman, and in my case a trans woman being married to a straight cisgender woman.

Even this early in my transition I can so relate to this situation. I am a trans woman married to a cisgender heterosexual woman. Now some spouses go bi, lesbian, or pan to stay with their transitioning spouse. Many stick around to try and make it work for children, which early on isn’t necessarily a bad thing if it allows for time to process what is happening, and if as a couple you are able to transition the intimate part of your relationship as well.

But what if you can’t? What if the best you can do is a platonic love between best friends? Should you stay together? This is the issue I wrestle with and I know my wife is wrestling with even though she doesn’t talk much about it. Our interactions center on our children, other safe topics, or hanging out like friends after the kids go to bed.  Staying in those places allows her to stay away from the third rail of our marriage…my transition…which is also the transition of our marriage.

She has made some efforts to be supportive, gives me space when I need it, and is letting me evolve.  However, she also doesn’t share my successes, or really want to talk about them.  Occasionally, she does ask questions, but if I try to go into any detail she often changes the subject or tries to extricate herself from the discussion.  There is no romance, no intimacy, or sharing on an intimate level.  I have noticed where I used to always kiss her on the lips before bed, that has changed to kissing on the forehead, and it’s because she seems to prefer it to the old. We have hugged and held hands a few times, but from my perspective, and I’m sure hers as well, that things have changed.

After coming out as trans to her, she struggled as I would expect anyone to.  She processed, grieved and went to a new place.  She is making an effort to keep the family intact.  She will also tell you that as a family we are stronger than we have been in a long time, and all of this is true, and yet I find all of this extremely sad.  She has admitted to me, that if we did not have kids, my coming out would have sent her running and that she would already be gone.  She has said at times that she feels like we are already divorced.  She has also been clear that she doesn’t like women that way, and that having a man is important to her.  Finally, she said to me and also said to a friend of mine that “we have to stay together for the kids”.

In an attempt to be honest with myself, I will attempt to write down my most significant thoughts of the past month, and process them at the same time.  Thankfully she doesn’t read my blog, because this would cause a fight that I never want to have, or it might speed up a timetable that neither us, nor the kids are ready for…So here we go!

To begin with, coming out saved my marriage.  However, I’ve come to believe in the six months since then that coming out is really just prolonging a marriage that will eventually come to an end.  Whether it’s two, three, or five years from now…it will come to an end.  Certainly coming out transgender is the big monkey wrench thrown into the works, but we also have had issues in our marriage that go back to around the time the kids came to live with us.  I always thought we would get our groove back, and that we’d figure out how to be both parents and romantic partners.  The issues that we were dealing with before my transition certainly play a part in how I feel, but as this blog is about my transition and things related to it, I am going to focus on the state of my marriage from that context.  In addition, it is not my intent to throw my wife under the bus, and I’m sure she also could come up with a litany of issues regarding me, and she certainly would be justified in doing so as I think many of my issues from before are related to my being trans and being in denial for so long.

I want to address three spheres of importance in a marriage, and how I see these spheres as the relate to us.  These spheres (Emotional Intimacy, Romantic Intimacy, and Family Life) are important to any marriage, and the state of them often reflects the state of a marriage.

Emotional Intimacy

We used to have this in spades.  We could talk about anything with each other and couldn’t wait to do so.  Hopes, dreams, the future…they were all on the table.  She was the first person I couldn’t wait to share something with, and I think I was the same to her.  This has changed significantly on both our parts.  We still vent to each other about our days, and are intimate when it comes to issues involving the kids, but as for the rest?  It simply isn’t there.  We don’t talk about our hopes, dreams, or the future anymore.  In fact, I sense she is afraid to discuss such things, and as a result I am afraid to talk about mine.

See, for me, my hopes and dreams for the future focus on me living my life authentically as the woman I am and these certainly are not her dreams or hopes, except to say I do believe she wants me to be happy.  My hopes and dreams might actually be the things that are crushing hers, and that’s a hard things for a person to live with.  She finds emotional support and intimacy from being with a man, which regardless of my current appearance is hard for her to do now.  It’s also something I don’t want, as it makes my presenting and expressing at home that much harder.

I want to be clear, I still find myself wanting to share things with her.  She is my best friend, and I want her to be happy for me, but I don’t think she is capable of it.  Being supportive does not necessarily mean being happy for someone.  It simply means you love them enough to want them to be happy, regardless of how it makes you feel, or what that might mean for you.

We are still connected, and I know her better than anyone, can read her better than anyone, and I know she isn’t happy, and hasn’t been happy for awhile.  Issues with herself, and issues with our marriage are part of it.  She would also stay with me in a marriage simply for the kids.  She would give up her right to be happy for them, and she is willing to lose herself in the process.  She has some expectations that I would do the same thing, but she also knows me well enough to know that there is a good chance I will not do that.

I don’t believe a person can make another person happy.  I know television and movies try to put forth the thought this is possible, but I believe that we determine our own happiness by the expectations we have for ourselves.  People can magnify our emotions.  Married to the right person your happiness can be magnified, and to the wrong person for you, unhappiness will be magnified as well.  The reality is we may not be the right people for each other anymore, and that is O.K.

Romantic Intimacy

There were issues here before I came out due to medical and health issues, small children, and I think partly due to the fact my internal conflict ramped up for a couple years before coming out.  We stopped being cute and playful, and instead became tired and less physically affectionate.  I had hopes we’d find ourselves again, but sex seemed of less interest to her, and the same became true of me.  I had stopped caring about myself due to my dysphoria and put on weight.  Becoming a mom, like it does for many women, changed her priorities of what is important.  With both of us working full time, and up very early, there was little time for physical intimacy, and rarely did she seem interested.  Being female on the inside I read this and didn’t push for it, but it also had the added impact of making her feel like I didn’t desire her, when in truth I wanted to feel as desired as she did, but there was no way she could know that, and it was something I didn’t feel I could tell her.  Stereo-typically, I was always taught it was the man who is supposed to show they want sex, but there were cracks in my mask, and I was tired of playing games I had never wanted to play in the first place.

Sex for me had become mechanical in many ways.  I hated having intercourse, hated feeling like a rutting beast.  Over the years it had gotten worse.  I loved foreplay, and the intimacy associated with it, but as for the rest?…it just intensified my loathing for a body so clearly male.  Even with all that said, when we did have sex, physically it was still as good as it ever was, but it was just a much rarer occurrence than the first twelve years of our marriage.

Sex has been sporadic and minimal the past six years.  Many couples see a decline in the frequency of sex as they get older, and it isn’t the be all and end all to romantic intimacy, but how can a couple hope to find it again when they are both women and one is heterosexual and says she only wants to be with men?

There is also something that I need to touch on and that is my evolving sexuality.  I can admit that I no longer view myself as being attracted only to women, but that in the past month I also realize that I do have the potential to be attracted to certain types of men and non-binary people.  I also am coming to realize that I need to be with someone who sees me as the woman I am and also desires me for it, whether they be hetero or queer.

Her constant sexuality and my evolving sexuality may be the real deal killers in our marriage.  I am 43, and hope to be full-time by some point in 2020 at the latest.  I will turn 46 in 2020, with plenty of good years left.  My wife will turn 44 in 2020, and she has just as many good years left.  Are we supposed to take vows of chastity and give ourselves to our children and vows taken that no longer hold relevancy as “man and wife?”

Don’t we deserve to find romantic love again if it is something we want?  Do I deserve to find someone who will want me the way I’ve always desired, but never had?  Does she deserve to have someone look at her the way she wants, and to treat her the way she deserves to be treated in a way I can’t.

Sex isn’t the most important part of a relationship, but depending on who you are, it is important.  Right now, there are so many things I want to experience once my mind and body reach concurrence, and I’m not sure physical intimacy is one of those things I’m willing to give up.  I also feel she should be able to have that again, if she wants it, and in the manner she wants it.

Family life

All marriages are families, some have children and some do not.  Most bring extended family from both sides together, and family is often central to married life in many ways.  My wife is a wonderful mother.  Our children adore her, and she goes all out on their behalf.  In short, our kids are her life.  Due to certain needs our children have this cannot be helped, and as they gravitate towards her (both being under 10) she has to deal.  I say the above to say I don’t resent her for this, but it does make me sad to see she has no interests she pursues outside of the home.  I often feel like she is losing herself, and one of our nastiest fights was about this as my guilt before coming out made me bring it up, and when she got defensive I simply got louder and it got ugly.  I am sorry for that and it is one of my biggest regrets, but it doesn’t change the fact that I still feel this way.

She is also a homebody and an introvert.  Playing boy I was happy to go along with that, but as a woman I am clearly an extrovert who wants friends, and wants to do things with those friends.  This is not to say we can’t integrate my friends into our life, but they will be my friends first, and they serve as a reminder to her of new parts of my life that I’ve created which are not dependent upon her or our family.  I’ve been good about this so far, and have minimized getting together with friends to once a month, but I’d like to at least double this as I gain needed energy for it by getting away and being myself 100% with friends who only know Allie.

I can only think, while things are harder for me right now in how I go about presenting and expressing at home, meaning that I have been toning it down and keeping it in check, there will be a point where due to HRT I will no longer be able to do so, and more importantly won’t care.  There will be a point where my wife and kids will have to see me as a woman, and the man they still think they see will be gone.  When that day comes, their reactions and adjustment will be very telling as to what kind of family we will have.  Surgeries and other transition landmarks will only further those adjustments to the point where a decision will have to be made, if it isn’t made before that point.

Since coming out, our family has gotten stronger.  I am more engaged, and participate far more in events with the kids, and this makes both the kids and my wife happier.  You could say our family life is strong.  We eat dinner as a family, do things as a family, and due to attachment issues from before they were adopted, having all of us under the same roof means everything to my kids at the moment.

I say “at the moment”, because my kids will get older and more independent.  They won’t want to do everything with us, and then I am left wondering what do we have that makes it necessary for us to be under the same roof, and more to the point, is it healthy for us to stay under the same roof?

Many couples who get divorced continue to be kick ass co-parents.  They meet for family dinners, holidays, and some even still take vacations together.  The point is, one does not need to stay in an unhappy marriage to have a good family life.

In addition, there is the lesson we as parents teach our children. Is it better to stay married and be miserable, or is it better to divorce and be happy?  Our children are always watching and learning from us, and I want them to feel that it is not necessary to lose their happiness for the sake of others.  It is O.K. for relationships to evolve and grow outside of traditional norms.  After all, there is nothing traditional about being trans and everything that goes with it, so why does our family have to maintain that stereotype to be happy?

In the end, I believe my children will come through this just fine, and will learn much about what it means to be a family whether under the same roof or not.  As for my wife and I?  She is my best friend, and I love her dearly.  We became adults together, and there is so much I am thankful to her for, but I also know she isn’t happy, and I want her to be happy.  She deserves to be happy, and if she can’t be with me as a woman, then I want her to find a man who will make her the center of his world.  She deserves nothing less.  Even if she finds new love and were to marry again, we will always love each other, respect each other, and value one another.  That will never change.  We will always be family.

How will that family look?  Well, that has yet to be decided, we may yet find our happiness again, but as she and I have discussed, what happens with our marriage is a decision we will make together.  Regardless of what happens we will do it in a way that positions us and the kids to be as happy as possible with our decision.

If there is one thing that transition is teaching me, it is that life is short and everyone deserves to be happy with the life they choose to live.  Life is also fluid, and sometimes we have to adjust to that fluidity.  Change doesn’t have to be bad, and often it can be better than anyone could possibly have ever imagined.  My life and family are changing, and I’m certainly hoping in the end it is for the better.

 

 

Gender Purgatory…Where I Currently Live

Purgatory

Purgatory…Limbo…whatever you want to call it, it’s that place between worlds, often associated with a person’s transition from the mundane (Earth) to the wonderful (Heaven), and for me it sums up perfectly where I am at in my transition, and where I may spend quite a bit of time before being allowed, by my body, to move on.

If living as a boy was my life on Earth, then this transition to purgatory is a step in the right direction because it means that I no longer fit the mold of a boy.  I may look like one most of the time, and I may even pretend to be one some of the time, but it certainly isn’t who I am, and being honest it was never who I was.  However, this would mean that my life in heaven would be me living my life 100% of the time as my authentic self, and most of the time being seen by people as I see myself.  In my case, as a trans woman, that means being seen as a woman, which I am nowhere near being seen as in public.  I believe the day will come, but it is not here yet.

And so the place I reside is purgatory.  There are circles, a select group of friends, trans twitter, Facebook, and within queer circles where people accept me as Allie, but that is about it.  Heck, most days I look in the mirror and I can’t see myself yet.  My body is still too muscular, too big, and too hairy.  My face, while thinning and softening, is also clearly more masculine than feminine.  Yet, I also can’t fully present in public as a male all of the time, or in all manner of clothing.  It is clear that I have breasts and that those breasts are not male, and so I am at the point that I have to wear something for support/compression every day.  Which means, presenting male, I have to wear tops that hide my sports bras, bralettes, etc.  In all likelihood summer will totally suck this year, as I love to wear tank tops and shorts all summer long, and as of right now, tank tops are probably a no go, unless I want to clearly share with the world that I am also wearing undergarments that I clearly need.  I won’t be visiting a pool this summer, that’s for sure, and as for shorts?  Weight loss and body changes will also influence what kind I end up wearing in public spaces. Sadly, changes to the body are essential for being gendered correctly in public.  Only time and HRT can bring them about, and the jury is still out on just how much change I will actually see.

HRT affects everyone differently, and there are factors that will determine how it affects a person.  Experts say age can play a factor, and from my own research I would say this is most definitely true.  The younger you are the more likely you are to get good results, but not guaranteed.  Genetics are probably most important, but coupled with age this usually determines how quickly people see those changes.  Beginning dosages of blockers and hormones all can significantly impact when people will see changes and how those changes will come about.  The older you get the greater chance that physical changes may be minimal, but some older women do get fantastic results, and I’m kind of straddling the fence not young, but also not quite over the line to old.  I do feel like luck might be on my side, based upon the results I have seen so far, but nothing is a given or promised to someone in transition.

So, I am straddling the worlds between boy and girl, and while my body is slowly moving where it needs to be, my mind has jumped way out into the lead.  Clearly more female than male at this point, as if any vestige of male remains (I don’t think it does), my mind struggles at times to do boy.  Male actions seem to be more from memory than instinct or desire to to do them.  Since doubling my T blocker I find myself succumbing more often to stereotypical female behaviors which makes me both happy and frustrated at the same time.  Happy because internally I feel more myself every day, but frustrated because I’m painfully aware that my outside is nowhere near matching how I feel on the inside.  In some ways this makes my body dysphoria worse.  Luckily my increased body dysphoria is tempered by feeling “right” in my head, and so my overall gender dysphoria is less, but in some ways it causes me more problems.

I find myself wanting to present female so badly, and yet, more than ever, I am aware of my male physical attributes that I despise.  The muscle on my shoulders and chest drive me insane!  I have female tops that I used to wear, and I no longer wear them because they emphasize that which I hate.  Instead, I have moved back to unisex t-shirts and loose tops that de-emphasize my hated body parts.  Playing with make-up?  Yeah, that’s not happening until the facial hair is gone.  I know many girls move forward with heavy concealer and get quite good at hiding it, but until my face shape changes more along with facial hair being completely removed, I have decided to wait.

I recognize that my purgatory is partly self-imposed by the way my dysphoria works and how that directly affects my presentation.  Some girls just go full-time, full speed ahead, and I admire them for it.  For me, that simply isn’t the path I want to, or am willing to walk.  My path is far more calculated and planned out.  Aside from dysphoria, things like my family and job also affect how I transition and the timeline I choose to follow.

Even with all of the above said, there are mental changes that are already happening and they can’t be stopped.  My brain is changing as i switch my fuel from testosterone to estrogen.  Things I have noticed just since doubling my blocker over a month ago, many in the last two weeks, are:

  • Lowered singular focus…My brain jumps from random thought to random thought in a quicker pattern.  I find this happening as I’m talking to friends.  My wife does this and it used to drive me crazy…now I do it and can follow others when they do it.
  • Nervous energy…I never had this before, but my god, where did it come from?  When bad I can’t sit still, and I’ve even found myself cleaning stuff.  Often it will start with noticing something is expired in the fridge, and so I throw it out, and then I look for other stuff, and before I know it I am cleaning out the entire refrigerator.  This never used to be me.  I didn’t worry about such things, and was content to ignore them.  Now it’s like I can’t help myself, and the reasons I do it run in a similar vein to reasons my wife has given before when she has done similar things.  I always found the reasons funny…but they make total sense to me now.
  • Anxiety…Where did this come from?  I stayed home from work yesterday due to a migraine brought on by anxiety over having to go to work in full boy mode.  The anxiety didn’t build, it just hit me out of nowhere Monday night and stayed with me all night long.  Things didn’t finally start to get better till around noon on Tuesday, after girlfriends did their thing to either take my mind off of it or help me work past it.  In the past I was always able to push anxiety down and lock it away, or compartmentalize it.  Pushing it down is not so easy anymore, and when anxiety joins forces with dysphoria they both gain greater strength to knock me down.  I used to listen to women talk about anxiety and how it would affect them, and shrug my shoulders as I had no issue ignoring it.  Now I am forced to deal with it because my brain won’t ignore it, and instead fixates on it until I deal with it.
  • Attraction…I finally felt attraction to another person since I started to transition, and it wasn’t based upon the notion of whether or not I found this person worthy of sleeping with.  Sure physical attractiveness still matters to me, but it is personality and connection that matters to me more.  The thought of sex doesn’t even enter into the picture because I have no interest in it at all right now.  I also now know that my sexuality has shifted from having played the cis-het male to being a bi/pansexual trans woman.  I know it could shift again, but I now see the fluidity of my sexuality, and how I view others with it.  I also want to add that any crush I have is simply of a school girl nature, as I am married and the thought of cheating is not something that I even entertain as an option…nor am I interested in the physical with my body in its current state.
  • Friendship…Huge for me.  My girlfriends, and I have a select few that I know locally (many more online) mean so much to me.  Friendship has taken on a new level of importance that was never there before.  There is something about it that definitely affects my mental well-being.  Lunch with a couple of friends can be like positive fuel for me.  Online and texting is nice, but nothing beats getting together in-person and I need to try and make this happen more often.
  • Public presentation…I have been playing with androgynous female clothing choice since November, but up until Sunday I was regularly identified as a cis-het male.  I know this because of how women that I don’t know have reacted to me over that period of time.  Women, with good reason, are often more guarded in their interactions with men.  Often out of fear of being hit on or having to deal with creepy stalker-types where being nice might be misconstrued as a signal to flirt.  On Sunday, when out with a couple girlfriends, and even when alone, I started getting queer ID’d.  In any store or restaurant I went into on Sunday the women I interacted with were simply sweeter and more relaxed around me.  I’ve been the big scary guy getting on an elevator with a lone woman, and having always been female I’ve always been painfully aware of the reaction I elicit.  On Sunday, the reaction was openess that included compliments on clothing or accessories, like a woman would give to another woman or a femme man.  This change has taken me off guard a little, but also makes me smile as it means that while I’m not being seen as a woman yet, I am being seen as queer and this puts me closer to my end goal.  I will admit clothing, carrying a bag, and the company I keep can all be signals to people I interact with, but I also find myself talking a little different…more free with my enunciation and word choice…and it isn’t conscious.  If relaxed I just do it, and while my speech pattern isn’t necessarily female yet, it also isn’t quite the typical male.  All of this is a big positive and also highlights that not everything in purgatory is bad or negative.

I hate ending on negative thoughts, and so I waited until the end  to show that purgatory doesn’t all have to be bad.  There are good things that happen as I make my way through it.  There truly is a mix of the frustrating and the wonderful within it.  As to how long I will be there?  I can’t know for sure yet.  As of right now I don’t see myself going 100% full time until I’ve been on HRT a minimum of 18 months, but it could be longer depending upon my genetics.  I will have to go full-time at home sooner because I want to and because there are things I need to work on, such as voice, make up, etc. Transitioning at home will give me an opportunity to work on and perfect things that will affect my overall presentation.  In small ways I’ve already begun to work on some of them such as laser hair removal, voice, weight loss, beginning to grow out my hair, and shaping my eye brows.

There are always things I can work on that put me closer to full transition, and reminding myself to live in the now and to take it a day at a time are good things to keep in mind.  The rest will come when it does, and worrying about things I can’t control is a waste of my energy.  Sometimes I can’t help it, but I hope I’m getting better at stopping myself from obsessing.  I think I am, and instead using that energy for the positive things that I need.

 

 

Welcome to Reality: Three Month HRT Update

reality

When you start HRT, and it is something you really want, it can put you on a self-induced high.  You become convinced things are happening every time there is a little change.  You have visions of your body transforming and being one of those girls who has to out herself at seven months, because people constantly gender you female.  It is the thing dreams are made of, and so you stand on the mountain top higher than everything around you.

The funny thing is HRT rarely works that way in the best of circumstances, and so such things are merely the dreams of someone who has yet to come back to reality.  Coming back to reality is a shock to the system as you struggle to accept it, but it is a positive if you look at the future with realistic expectations.  I have spoken with enough girls to know most of us go through such a phase, and even girls who go full time out of the gate have said to me, a year or two in that they don’t know how they did it because looking back they were terrible in the beginning.

To expect drugs to physically change my body, a “male” body of 43 years, overnight is ridiculous.  Expectations ranging in several months to a year are also not very realistic for most.  Realistic expectations for full HRT feminization range anywhere from 18 months to 36 months, if being honest.  Reputable surgeons won’t touch you until around 18 months at the soonest, and GCS surgeons want you on hormones at least a year before they will perform surgery.  There are reasons for these things, but one major reason is that evidence shows most trans women hit their peak development around the two year mark, and still there are many who see significant changes between 24 and 36 months.  This knowledge actually helped me break out of a self-induced funk that I sank into shortly before Christmas.  It also helped me to look to the future with a renewed hope that was grounded in realistic expectations, rather than simply naive dreams.

So what was the source of my funk?  I had my two month checkup and blood work in mid-December, and shortly before that I was feeling like my testosterone was fighting the HRT I was taking,  While it doesn’t quite work like that, I felt like my development was hitting a wall.  This was confirmed to a point by my blood work which revealed that while my testosterone was down 100 from 450 to 350,  but it was still well outside the range of female levels.  In addition, due to the high testosterone, my estrogen was only at about 50, which was still significantly lower than natal female levels.  No trans woman wants to hear such news (almost always a trigger), because we all know others who’s bodies snapped to almost right away, and their first bloodwork showed them to be within the natal female range.  However, for most of us it doesn’t work that way.  Things take time to happen.

As a result, my doctor doubled my spironolactone, so I now take daily, 200mg of spironolactone and 6mg of estradiol.  My doctor said that we should definitely see a significant decrease in testosterone and this will allow my estrogen levels to rise up to where we want them.  Again, this gives me hope, but as someone who has waited over 40 years, I want it all right now.

Adding to my funk was the fact that my weight loss had kind of plateaued, and while I looked elsewhere to blame, I also knew that this was my fault.  As a result I began tracking everything I ate to get a handle on where my issues were, and soon came to realize it was mostly evening snacking, and that snacks throughout the day can really add up.  With the start of the new year I enacted a new diet plan, and it seems to be working as I’ve dropped seven pounds so far in 2018, and there is no doubt this also has added to my renewed spirit.

Now, I say all of the above to stress that as a  trans person I can choose to dwell on those things I perceive to be negative about my transition, my body and my mental state, or I can choose to see the good things that are happening, even if those things are only slowly evolving.  So let’s look at those positive things, beginning with measurements on Day 1 of HRT to my measurements on Day 1, Month 4 of HRT:

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 4 measurements:

  • Weight:  235 lbs
  • Chest:  40.5 inches (underbust:  38 inches)
  • Waist:  35 inches
  • Pant/male waist:  37 inches
  • Hips:  41 inches
  • Neck:  15 inches
  • Bicep:  14 inches
  • Wrist:  6.25 inches
  • Ankle:  8.5 inches

Now, if I were to look at the above numbers only from Month 3 to 4, then I would see almost zero changes…half an inch on a couple measurements, or no changes in several, but from day one these changes are huge, and that’s what I have to remember.  I have only lost nine pounds from Day 1, and yet I have lost 2-3 inches in many places.  Things have been happening.  It’s just often I don’t see them, or they get overshadowed by things like the start of breast development, which as a trans woman is always a moment of joy for all of us.

People also sometimes ask about other things that I’m seeing, and some I’ve talked about and others I haven’t, because it is hard to pinpoint what some changes are.  I have yet to talk about my face, other than to say it has thinned out some and that my skin is softer.  I can say now, without a doubt, that there is something happening around my eyes and my chin.  With my eyes I can’t say for sure what is different, just that there is something that is making me look younger?  It’s the best way I can describe it.  As for my chin, it’s almost like it is emerging from wrapping, as if the tissue around it is reconfiguring.  These things don’t happen overnight, and so I often think maybe I’m seeing things because I want to.  However, looking at older/before pictures I can say there is definitely something going on.  My head is becoming less blocky, or putting it another way my head is going from looking like a circle to more of an oval.  At least that’s the way it seems to me.

I mentioned ankle and wrist measurements because joints are a great way to get an idea for just how “bulky” your bone structure might be, and seeing mine drop into natal female ranges for a woman my height makes me realize that my bone structure might not be near as broad or thick as I thought it was.  My underbust measurement is also further confirmation of this fact.  At 38 inches, it stands to reason that with continued weight loss and time on HRT I should continue to see my measurements head in the direction I want.

My breast development seems to have slowed down the past month, but I know from others that it comes and goes in cycles.  They remain sore, but that soreness has retreated to just behind the nipple where the bud is.  I’m ok with that as well, as the bulkiest muscle on my body is the muscle of my upper torso.  Knowing how it affects appearance, boob growth can slow down to match what I hope will soon be a noticeable decrease in the muscles on my back and chest.

Mentally, I’ve written before about how HRT has given me access to my emotions, and I still tear up at the dumbest things, and I’m ok with that.  It’s all good.  However, I’ve also come to realize that HRT doesn’t change who we are.  I am still the same person I was before I began it.  I’m just happier now, and the dysphoria has lessened.  This might be the biggest lesson of Month 3…and I can’t stress it enough…HRT doesn’t change who you are on the inside.  It might let you show the real you, but that person on the inside is still there.  If you hope that it will change you, then you will be sorely disappointed, except to say it frees you up to be yourself.

Relationship wise, my wife and I are good, and my family life is better than it’s been in a long time.  The nature of my marriage has changed, and I’m not sure if it will ever go back to what it was before.  Here, too, I must also take the long view.  We have children who would be devastated by a separation, and my wife and I both know this.  We know the children are the number one reason we are trying.  We are still best friends, and we still love each other.  As to if we are still in love?  I don’t know.  My attitude about sex and romance has changed.  I’m more apathetic about both at the moment.  You could say I’ve put that part of my life in limbo, along with so much of my life right now (Will discuss this feeling of limbo in my next blog post as it is something I want to talk about).

Talking about my parents, they still need time, and they can have it.  Right now, they’re still fixated on themselves.  They’re dealing with their own issues on my transness, and are incapable of giving me what I want from them right now.  I am still talking to them, and they love and support me, but they’re really not available to me right now, and I can’t say for sure when they will be.  My brother also falls into the same boat.  I know they can’t picture me physically female, and that has to be part of it, heck I can’t picture myself physically female much of the time.  My hope is that physical change will help them accept a little more and to alleviate their worries as to how the world will see and treat me.

Overall, I am happy to put month three behind me, and I have moved into the new year with a renewed hope for what the future has in store. I will focus on those things I can control, my diet and health, and I will let HRT do its thing in its own time.  How we take care of ourselves can effect how we transition, and so from here on out I intend to maximize that in any ways I can.  No matter what I am moving in the direction I want to, so can take heart in that.

Sexual Warning:

I always end my monthly updates with any changes I’ve noticed sexually.  And I can say I’ve noticed a few things since doubling my blocker.  The first is that my sex drive has decreased more, meaning I care about it even less than I did before it was doubled, and it had already dropped before that.  I’ve also noticed an increased sensitivity to the underside of my penis.  The use of a vibrator is pleasurable now, meaning that with time and relaxation, it might be enough to do the job alone, which brings me to the third point, and that is, what turns me on is shifting.  Visual stimulation can still start me off, but often I find greater intensity when I simply close my eyes and let my mind focus on the building feeling/pleasure.  Mental imagery seems to be taking over from the visual one I’ve existed with most of my life.  There have been moments in the last couple weeks where for me to reach orgasm I simply had to relax, close my eyes, and focus on the pleasure, otherwise the building sensation would keep dropping, but I couldn’t get over the hill.  I also want to say that those orgasms were different, as a heat or flush would build up and wash over me near the point of climax.  This was also new.  I look forward to see how this progresses in the next few months, but also can say while it feels good in the moment…I’m finding it necessary to talk myself into it more often as it is nowhere near a priority for me like it was pre-HRT.

 

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.

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.