My Odyssey

Odysseus, Greek hero and King of Ithaca, achieved great fame for his exploits during the Trojan War – a war in which he never wanted to participate.[1] This champion made his fame by – among other feats –  orchestrating the fall of Troy.  He came up with the strategy of the Trojan Horse, allowing the Achaeans to finally breach the walls of Troy.  The legends of the Trojan War itself constitute one of the greatest Greek (and, to a certain extent, Roman) myths.  However, for Odysseus, the end of the war is only the beginning of his story.  Ten long years of wandering follow ten years of war, and Odysseus fights every minute of those ten years to reach his home and his family.[2]

I’m looking at two weeks until I start my hormone therapy, and I feel like the war is finally ending; I know, though, that the journey has just begun.  I had been set to start a couple of weeks ago, but unfortunately had to delay.  However, there are no more delays and the  appointment is so close, I can barely stand it.  I am leaving for a vacation in a few hours, which will keep me from spending the next two weeks making some sort of chart analyzing when each transman that ever went on hormones got his first noticeable facial hair.  Sadly, this is something I would actually do.  Microsoft Excel is the love of my life.  But that’s beside the point.

But, somewhere deep down, I know that, no matter how many charts I make and blog entries I read, nothing can predict how T will affect me.  I know that T affects everyone differently, that the changes will be slow (and some may never happen), that this is just the beginning.  After a lifelong struggle against who I am and how I feel, starting T signifies, to me, the point where I truly begin to become myself, to transition.  I won’t have a different personality, my life won’t flip upside down, but it is a firm step down the right path.

I’ve been delving more deeply into some serious trans research, and I’ve found a lot of hope in the stories of other transmen.  In his book, Just Add Hormones, Matt Kailey writes, “The first testosterone shot is probably the most eagerly awaited moment in a transman’s life and one that is never forgotten. Although nothing much happens afterward, you know that you have crossed the threshold into a new beginning.”[3] All of the blogs, livejournal entries and youtube videos in the world cannot tell me what my new beginning will look like.  But seeing these other men and their new beginnings provides such an excitement for what my future holds.  I can finally feel whole.

Obviously, testosterone is not some sort of magic drug.  My problems won’t disappear overnight.  I won’t wake up the next day looking like Hugh Jackman.[4] But anything that will make me feel more at home in my body – more at peace – is worth it.  As Mario Martino, a ftm who transitioned in the 1960s, said, “To have my body reflect my image of myself as a male…I would pay any price, do anything within honor.”[5]

I may never be Hugh Jackman, but that’s okay; I will finally be myself.

[1] He even destroyed his crops and nearly killed his son in order to avoid being called to war.

[2] Which he does, eventually, manage to do.

[3] Matt Kailey, Just Add Hormones: An Insider’s Guide to the Transsexual Experience, (Boston: Beacon Press, 2005), 49.

[4] Sadly, I will most likely never look like Hugh Jackman.  I have, for the most part, accepted this fact.

[5] Joanne Meyerowitz, How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002), 152.

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