Looking in the mirror, I don’t even know what to think anymore. Every time I go to step in the shower here, the mirrors are unavoidable. The back of the door with its full length mirror, right across from it over the sink and toilet, covering most of the wall is another. Reflected back in my eyes time and again, and again, reflected over and over from parallel mirrors, is my body. The half reflections in the unfrosted shower glass add angles, and at every turn it is undeniable: I was born with a female body.
What am I supposed to think?
I finally look at my legs and think that finally from the knee down my legs look right, more akin to a guy’s legs than a girl who just doesn’t shave. Yet, when I think that there is the same train of thought of how stereotypical of me: guys and girls, no matter what I believe, no matter how I actually feel, too much of my view on life is tinted by those damn notions of “gender,” “presentation,” “sex,” and “roles.” But I look down at my legs, and despite all the running narratives in my head, my legs finally look right. My neck is thicker, my arms are finally developing more muscle. Still, I look in the mirror and I see hips, I see breasts, I see how far I have to go.
I’m hungrier than I was before. I want sex more, but I don’t actually think about it in greater quantities. But hungrier, definitely. My moods have not changed much, if anything they have calmed down, stabilized. I’m no angrier, no less connected, but my moods are more consistent over a period to time. Despite the fact I’ve still been getting my period, my PMS has drastically dropped, even to manageable levels.
It’s looking at myself that I both realize things are different… and how nothing has changed.
I’m still around 5’8″ and my weight is apparently higher, but unnoticeable in its change for most people around me. My clothes fit the same, my hair only changes when I cut it differently, or just let it grow out. I still have a chest, and I look down and force myself to realize they are mine, that I feel pleasure when someone plays with them, sucks them…
Everything is connected.
Each week, I draw enough T suspended oil to reach the .5 mark. As I wipe the alcohol swab over the patch of skin to inject I notice that there is more hair on my ass. When I look down at my groin, I see how much my clit has grown, most (if not all) was in the first week or two on T. But more than just seeing that, I see the hair on my inner thighs, and I smile. There is argument about whether or not there the hair on my arms is darker, I really cannot tell if that is the case. But I know my facial hair is more than when I started T, but I don’t see it increasing much more. Supposedly it comes in for like two years, so this shouldn’t be surprising.
My voice is deeper, that alone makes this all worth it. Yet, now when I walk down the street, I’m not sure if I actually am passing any more than I used to. And part of me is okay with that, okay with the gender juxtaposition I represent, okay with causing confusion, uncertainty, and curiosity. But part of me is absolutely petrified that I will get jumped. Mostly though, I just want to walk down the street and feel comfortable in my skin, not wondering what the hell I am, not always worried about everyone around me. I want not to question basic facets of myself just to walk the dog.
Except that to pass, I become so much of what I fear. I seem to be another white guy, not too tall, but me? A lot of the time I look like a punk kid. I walk down the street, and soon that could make someone else be afraid. For me to lose my fear, I increase it in others.
So I try to work to change to make this world a place where guys aren’t the bad guy, but that would take guys stop being the bad guys so often. Our culture teaches women not to “ask for it” by watching what they wear, where they go, who they are with, how they act, etc. It is on women to prevent men from “wanting” to rape them, or at least, that is the narrative society spins. There is this notion that it is not okay for men to touch women unasked (something I do not disagree with) but that it is okay for women to touch men unasked (that part I do disagree with.) Double standards because our society still is so fucked up with gender relationships, and none of it addresses people like me. How am I supposed to think about thing when my body lies outside of the narrative of society? My existence does not fall into any of those narratives other than “freak.”
Sometimes I hate being a freak, believing it makes me undesirable, an outcast in all the wrong ways. Other times, I get around what society tells me, and revel in my identity. T hasn’t changed that. Now, I just face it in a new way every day when I look in the mirror, and see something closer to myself.
Hunger… craving. Things that are strangely new, no matter how long it has been. I was always that bottomless pit for food, eating everyone else’s lunch leftovers throughout high school. Or last summer, when I could eat a 3 egg feta, spinach and tomato omelette, home fries and two pieces of toast and still be hungry. Despite all that, this incessant hunger is unfamiliar; this new hunger that comes with the testosterone is always lurking off to the side of my mind, persistent, incessant, explicit. If it never changed, I could forget and adjust to the feeling, but there is always a newness to it. It alters, hunger for protein, hunger for cream, always a new hunger, and each alteration reminds me again of its presence.
The craving also should not be this new. S and I have dated for a few months, we hooked up for a bit before that, and she is not the first I’ve dated, nor the first I’ve loved. Yet, so quickly I truly craved her touch. Her skin entices me, draws me, and when it is out of reach I crave her. It is not desire, nor hunger, it is both and neither. I crave her, the presence, the physicality. As great as sex with her, as great as playing with her, as great as those both are, it is simple touch and skin that I crave. Her touch, her response to my touch. I remember when I first noticed, first really thought about how much I craved her. The words were rolled across my tongue, from throat to teeth, testing my confidence in saying them. They never made it past my teeth, never were thrown out into the air, it was too early, too soon. We were so new, and I was scared of scaring her, so I didn’t enunciate quite beyond “I want you.” It is beyond wanting S, I crave her.
She is inextricably tied in with my transition. She entered my life so similarly timed with the first time that needle entered my body. Every injection brings more changes, some quick, some slow. She has drawn me out, gotten more of my fears, thoughts, hopes, and past than I could have expected. My body changes, our relationship changes, and each is a consistent form of discovery for me.
My craving for S, incessant as it is, lives next to the ever-present hunger. They live, side by side, shifting forward or back in my mind from moment to moment. Yet both are so very there, and no matter how deeply felt they are never quite familiar. How I crave shifts, how I hunger alters, and from each moment to the next, they are new. They circle each other, shifting, blending, altering, mixing, and the result is an intertwined craving/hunger, stronger than either and undeniably present. Sometimes, it untangles, fashioning new ways to crave S, finding new things to hunger, and throughout it all, there is no familiarity, craving/hunger… hunger/craving. I crave her, I miss her…
(Yeah, this is apparently what happens when I visit my family and am halfway across the country from S.)
Been a busy week, and looking at another one ahead of me. But some exciting new developments!
My voice actually cracked last week. In a room full of witnesses, which needless to say caused all my friends to give me some good-natured teasing that I saw as much overdue. Because it FINALLY cracked. It’s dropping more and more. THANK YOU FULL DOSE!
My legs are getting more hairy, as is my ass. The later I noticed when doing my injections, each week I just see more hair there, because otherwise I admit, I don’t look at my ass all that much. My arms aren’t any noticeably hairier, nor is my stomach. I don’t’ think my back is, but that is more S’s area.
There is so much I want to say, and quite a few entries I’ve started but haven’t had the time to do them the justice of making them good enough. What is amazing to me is that I’m doing so well, and yet writing so much. I’m not writing because shit is going wrong, I’m frustrated that I don’t have more time to do what I want, from writing to seeing S more. Because for once, I’m in a happy, healthy relationship. I’m writing things that interest me in here, not about how my life is falling apart. Testosterone has been going really well. Etc. etc. etc.
Regardless, there are some entries coming, ones that probably contain ideas that aren’t going to be as popular as some of the things I’ve written.
Well, not everyone thinks my voice has dropped. Well, the fact that I am up to a full dose should help that speed up a bit. As well as everything else.
I haven’t told my grandmother about me going on T yet. She wasn’t entirely happy when I told her I’m trans, which wasn’t really surprising but it was very much one of those “I will always love you” sort of moments. I know how lucky I am, that no matter what happens my family will always be there. They might not understand, or accept my life, but they will always at least tolerate it, and always love me. Actual acceptance or understanding… well I’m working on it. But telling my grandmother about T will be a bit of a headache. I’m going to have to go through and explain that yes, I’ve researched it. Yes, I’m going to a good, accredited health center for my hormones. Yes, I’m getting the blood tests, and moreover they have continually come back telling me I am healthy. She will continue to worry though, and call up my mother, who doesn’t actually support my decision to go on T but will at least say that she thinks I’ve been responsible about it.
My cousin sent me an email the other day, about her son. He’s an adorable little kid, and this comes from a person who truly cannot stand kids under the age of 9. So, his mom was at the ice rink to pick up her older child, and ran into one of my old coaches (yes, I used to figure skate.) She made a comment about how old I’ve gotten, as older cousins are wont to do, and used my birth name because that is how my coach knew me. My little cousin said “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM…” and proceeded to correct her in front of my old coach, who didn’t seem to notice, or ask. My cousin promptly sent me an email telling me all this, and ended it with “If only the whole world was as accepting as young children, eh?”
Because that is true. My mother, who is far beyond liberal, a social worker, and generally has almost more issues with the gender binary than I do… has issues with the fact I am not her daughter. She still thinks of me as her daughter, and claims to me that it is to distinguish me from my brothers. Which I don’t entirely mind because it is a compliment not quite to be lumped in with them, and its the only language she has to describe how her relationship with me is different from them. But in the end she actually considers it a failure. My mother sat down and told me that the fact she did not raise me to be a woman is a failure to her as a feminist. I was too shocked at the time to really react, and since then I’ve realized it’s not my problem, its hers. Despite how great so many of her attitudes are, despite how amazingly well she handles anything with regard to other people, when it comes to me, her child, it is a failure. And in the end, that isn’t my problem.
Similarly it isn’t my problem that I have family members who are toxic sociopaths, institutionalized, successfully married, work for ‘the man’, trying to become more orthodox, atheist… whatever. Because from someone’s perspective almost anything is a problem, but it isn’t mine. I can be there for them, I can be supportive of each of them as individuals, but their battles are not mine.
Now if only my family ever realized that my battles are also, not theirs. Be supportive sure, but please let me live my life and make my own mistakes, create my own success.
I know that many of them do believe that me going on T is a mistake, and that later I will want to go off of it, but that attitude drastically misses two facts. First, just because I want it now, and see myself wanting to be on T for the rest of my life, does not mean I don’t realize I might change my mind. Sure, it could happen. If it does, I will deal with the ramifications of the reversal of the transition process, and take pride in the ways my body realigns itself, similar to how now I am taking pride in how it changes to more of what I want it to become. Because in the end, that is how I think about things, which is the second part. Namely, that I take things as they come. If I change my mind, then I will accept that I had wanted this now, wanted it desperately, and it has made a huge, positive impact on my life so far, and its only been around three months. Changing that decision will not mean a mistake, but that it would no longer be the right decision. No matter what I decide though, it is my decision how I want to handle my body, my presentation as I go through life.
I managed to accidently get tested for HIV. I was sitting in my three-month appointment, and we were going over my blood tests, and we were talking about STIs. He asked when the last time I was tested for HIV, I said high school, and he basically said at some point soon I should get tested again, but since I’m so low risk (sleeping predominantly with women) that I didn’t need to worry about it. “Oh, nevermind. You’re HIV negative. Apparently I had you tested.”
Well, thanks? I mean, good to know, but next time let me know a little more obviously, okay?
Regardless, I’m finally up to a full dose of testosterone. The changes will come faster, my period should stop. I can become the adult I’ve always wanted to be, a strange conglomeration of truth and lie. For me, passing in all its problems is the reality. Because the person I want to come is someone who passes, who seems to be another able-bodied, white, straight, secular male. Not because I want to occupy the space of white men in American society, but because the body that is most me seems to be all those things, but I am so much more. People who look at me don’t see my ADHD, they will not see that I was raised as a girl who was good in math, who played sports, that tomboy was the first identity I ever embraced. They won’t see the history of activism, the kinky desires, if they see my desires they will probably see me dating women, as that is who I tend to go for. I will pass, and here it is the term passing, because I will pass for something I am not. I am white, but not a man. But the ability to pass as a man will be power I have, and something I can use in radical ways.
There are spaces where only women are allowed. Some, are only “women born women,” excluding transwomen. Some explicitly make sure to include transwomen, and some even include transmen. Basically some of these spaces boil down to less a woman’s space and more “No Cis-males allowed.” Which in and of itself is incredibly problematic, but what is worse is that those spaces are still needed. Those spaces really boil down to spaces of no “male privilege” (which doesn’t address the other forms of privilege there, surrounding race, class, abledness, age, etc.) because there is an extent to which banning cis-men is the only way people see that it is possible to create such a space. But many people hold male privilege, not just men, and not all men hold male privilege. Until those lines are more blurred there really is no way to distinguish though. That is one of those assumptions that I really seek to help upset. Just… so much to do. Because I’m one of those people who isn’t content to just let things be, because “the status is not quo” I need to do something with my changing positionality of power. As time goes on, and I pass more, I need to start learning how to function as a(n apparent) guy, and a straight one no less. Well, I read very gay… so maybe I won’t have to jump that hurdle just yet.
Last night, a friend I haven’t seen in a month asked if I was sick, had a sore throat. “No…” And then we realized, my voice is finally changing that much. C commented that she noticed in the voicemail I left that my voice was lower. I’ve been noticing as I (attempt and fail to) sing. It is really great, but it is definitely strange to listen to myself.
The results are in, I most definitely have more hair on my face. (Yes, yes, S was entirely correct.) To call them whiskers would be more than a stretch, but there is more, it’s thicker, and it is slightly darker. Not dark, especially compared to my hair, but its darker than the peach fuzz anyone can grow. It isn’t even very prickly. Actually in order to see it, you’d have to be damn close to my face, but hey, it’s there and so I feel like celebrating.
My celebration? Writing a blog entry of course.
I mean, I’d kick back with a bottle of wine but as I’m trying to motivate myself to get my ass out of bed and to the gym more in the mornings, I’m holding off on that. At least my liver will be happy. My blood tests for my three-month appointment went well, at least the going in and getting my blood drawn did. The tests I won’t find out about until my appointment, but I was in and out within fifteen minutes, probably a good deal less. Everything went smoothly, they were quick and professional, and it only took one jab into my arm.
In other exciting news, my period is late. This (lack of) event is especially exciting as my period has never been late before. Ever. Since the day I got it, I have bled on a perfectly timed schedule, the only thing that changed was how long it lasted. As jealous as some of my friends have been of this, mentally knowing it was coming was almost as hellish as getting it was. But now, it is late. I don’t want to jinx it, but signs point to hopeful!
Next entry is probably going to be another lovely story. Been pondering this one a while, we’ll see how it goes.
My goal for this blog was roughly 3 updates per month, knowing how bad I am at keeping stuff like this up. I’m proud to have surpassed my expectations.
Shaving was never something I looked forward to. It is the unfortunate by-product of facial hair, which is something I have not only been looking forward to but am anxiously awaiting it to arrive. Some people never really grow much facial hair, cisguys, transguys, whoever. I hope that I will not be one of them, who after years and years of trying, can’t get anything more than a patchy, scraggly excuse for… well… anything. Looking at my family, I probably don’t have anything to worry about. Either way it ends up going, I’ve been scanning my face frequently for signs of whiskers, or bad acne, one with hope, the other with resigned dread. So far, I’ve actually been lucky on both counts.
But was it really a whisker or two? Or even more that were coming in? I couldn’t be certain, because some of it may just have been wishful thinking on my part. Thus, I decided to shave.
This morning was not the first time I’ve shaved my face, nor will it be the last. I do not like it. Maybe I had that enamoured “Holy crap, I’m shaving my face” the first or second time I did it, but despite the fact that “peach fuzz” detracts from ‘passing’ I quickly avoided shaving. I quit shaving my legs, after a few arguments with my mother over this, for one simple reason: it took way too much time. Gender only really factored in with respect to the fact that I had no reason TO shave, other than appeasing my mother. Smooth legs can be fun, regardless of gender presentation. Back to my face, however, I decided to shave to see how much of what I was seeing was me looking with rose-tinted glasses, and how much was genuine. Shaving one’s face may cover less area, may not involve having to navigate annoying things like knees and ankles, but is far more annoying and difficult. If it was just about ease of shaving, and time, I’d take legs over face any day.
At least, my shaving cream and razor seem to do the trick without too much in the way of razor burn or other such unfortunate things. Maybe it’s because I only shave on rare occasions, but so far the double-bladed razor and the cream are quite great. Though the razor was originally a pain in the ass to find, as I wanted only two blades, not three or four. I mean, I didn’t even have whiskers, there is no reason for me to be scraping up my skin that much. Though one of these days I should get an aftershave balm. Gotta look into that…
I’ll update more on the whisker results are once I’ve had a chance to figure it out myself.
In other news, very little physical changes to update on, other than quite mild acne, but still a step up from before. Still same-ish sizes, and thus I’m assuming height and weight as well. One of the most important things will be tested this week, namely whether or not I get my period. Here’s to hoping it shall not arrive.
I just did my most badass shot ever. It was in the parking lot of a Taco Bell in the middle of Wisconsin. Yeah, somewhere in the state of Wisconsin.
See, I like to do my shot sometime between 4:15 and 5pm. Rather strict about that actually, and so we pulled over and I got out my stuff. S had to help because my car is not exactly conducive to a flat, laid out space, which is what I’m used to. She held things as I needed them, like bottles, and my syringe while I was prepping my ass. Surprisingly, the shot went better than many of mine recently, because though it hurt, which is rare, it also didn’t bleed at all, not even a little red bead.
Things I’ve learned about T from shooting up-
- The needles like their caps better than the syringe. It takes fighting to get the cap off occasionally, and in the process I may jab myself in the face.
- No matter how high your sex drive is, it can always go up.
- Injection site irritation must be ignored, as scratching one’s ass in public is usually frowned upon.
- I really do pass more.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do with my life. Going from sex positive store to sex positive store and seeing all these potential resources and books has been a really incredible experience. They have so much fabulous information, so many great books, but not a single one about being FtM. There were books on those on the MtF side of things– cross-dressers, transsexuals, transvestites, trannies, transwomen, etc.– but none on drag kings, and others born with a more female anatomy, unless it is more along the lines of Fairy Butch’s The Ultimate Guide to Strap On Sex. That made me wonder, would anyone buy such a book? Would people want to read about, would FtM, transguys, etc. want to buy a book, going into how to navigate sex with an alternative gender? Maybe it needs to be broader, maybe more narrow, but its a thought for a project.
I’ve decided I want to find a way to work with sex for a living. Preferably through education somehow. Maybe something will come from that idea of a project, maybe not, but its something to think about…
Lay it all out, everything you need.
- Two alcohol wipes
- One drawing needle
- One sub-q needle
- One syringe
- One bottle of testosterone
Wash hands. Wipe bottle with the first wipe. Attach drawing needle to syringe, but don’t touch the top part because it is sterilized. Draw the syringe back to get enough air, put the needle in the bottle and hold upside down. Make sure the needle stays in the liquid. Push air back into the bottle. Draw out testosterone. Take out of bottle. Remove drawing needle, put on sub-q needle. Wipe injection site, push needle into body all the way. Push down on syringe, hard. Pull out. Dispose in proper containers.
My first shot.
Which is what happened. After a full day of nerves, dealing with very expensive parking, with a surprisingly cheap and tasty sushi lunch mixed in. I swear the sushi made the day not completely horrbile as I could destress over food, because food is wonderful like that.
I’ll start uploading voice recordings later, after I have more than one, because wordpress costs money to post voice recordings. This way I won’t have to pay until I have more than one.