I am a bit of an insomniac, and have learned that sometimes, when my sleep schedule is already off, it is best to ride it out and pull an all-nighter instead of attempting to sleep and feeling really terrible the next day. Not that I don’t feel terrible when I don’t sleep at all, but it’s different and, in some ways, more manageable. Apparently, though, when I don’t sleep, I get really blog-happy. Not sure that’s a good thing. From the people who brought you drunk-dialing: sleep-deprivation-blogging!
Almost three months into my transition, I wrote a list of unexpected aspects of my transition. Now, eight months in, I give you round two:
1. The novelty of stabbing yourself in the leg with a needle wears off quickly:
I thought that the excitement of the changes wrought by testosterone would mean it took me a good long while (say, a year, at least) to get sick of giving myself shots every week. Yeah, not so much. I’m still over the moon about the changes, but the ritual of regular injections became a chore very quickly. In the first couple of months, I had a constant countdown in my head to the next shot. Now, I really need my phone calendar reminders to make sure I do it at the right time.
Not that I’m complaining. I am incredibly lucky to have started hormone therapy, and I would never claim otherwise. The romance just fizzled a bit sooner than expected. [insert joke about marriage/love here].
Also, I’ve been using 23.5 gauge needles this whole time, but the drug store gave me 22.5 gauge needles with my last refill. I’m actually really anxious about switching to the lower gauge. It’s strange, because I’ve never had trouble with needles, but I’ve been noticing the sting a bit more lately so I don’t know how significant of an increase it will be. Probably won’t be noticeable, but I’ll worry until I switch for the first time.
2. People started consistently reading me as male very quickly:
I have been bracing myself for the realization that I would have to wait at least until I got chest surgery, if not longer than that, to be read as male consistently. However, even the pathetic, patchwork beard that I have going on seems to make all the difference in the world. I have rolled out of bed and walked out into the world unbound, handing store clerks a credit card with my old name on it, and gotten a, “Hello, sir! What can I do for you?” Hanging out with a group of girls at a Mexican restaurant, which four months ago was a death knell for any chance of people reading me correctly, earned me the pleasure of hearing a waiter say, “Amigos, what would you like to order?”
In case you don’t speak Spanish, the significance is that if there is even one man in a group of women, that is enough for the masculine version of a word to be used to address the group. So, in other words, I am man enough to justify misgendering all of the women with whom I am hanging out. Problematic from a feminist/gender-equality perspective, but exciting from a transition perspective!
I still get some misgendering with a small number of people I meet, but for the most part people are reading me as male. I even told a friend I made a couple of weeks ago that I was trans and he thought I meant that I was MtF.
3. Facial hair is not a magical cure for people who knew me pre-transition and still mess up my pronouns:
I had really hoped that when I grew a beard, people who knew me as female just would not be able to see me that way anymore. I mean, come on, I have hair all over my face! Alas, alack, ’tis not enough. My mom even said that she has to keep reminding herself that my facial hair “is supposed to be there” and that she shouldn’t try to tweeze it.
Maybe when I have more facial hair…
4. When men started reading me as male, I stopped worrying about how to interact with them:
In my last post of this nature, I mentioned my anxiety re: interacting with men. I suspect that the anxiety was a love child of the leftover discomfort I had from trying to interact with men as a woman and paranoia about how people were reading my gender. As soon as people began to consistently read me as male, most of the anxiety and awkwardness dissipated almost immediately.
5. I actually want people to know that I am trans:
Though I do feel more comfortable when people initially read me as male (as opposed to reading me as transmale – is that a word?), as I get closer to people, I feel the urge to tell them I am trans. I thought that once I could get away with people not knowing I was trans, I would never tell anyone except those with whom I wanted to be romantically involved. But I find that I do want people I become close with to know. Not everyone, but new friends. It’s not to say that I don’t absolutely love being just another average guy – it’s pretty much the best thing ever. And I am just another average guy. But I am also a trans guy. And they both make me who I am.
“Unexpected Aspects of My Transition, Part II” by https://growingupgareth.wordpress.com/ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://growingupgareth.wordpress.com/.