This will cover my second month of HRT, from uncomfortable side-effects of month one to coming out at the end of month two.
As before, it's pulled from my personal journal. It'll mostly cover physical changes any psychological stuff associated with it.
I'm often concerned I'm imagining changes. Like, I have read and re-read what kind of body changes I can expect and roughly when, and when you are looking for something it's easy to be caught by false-positives.
So I've been weighing and measuring myself - particularly my chest and stomach. For the last week if I moved faster than a walk I noticed feeling my chest move a bit. That a slight over-bust measurement change of about three-quarters of an inch was pretty good evidence I wasn't imaging this. It kinda surprises me because I thought breast development wouldn't happen until a bit later. I guess it's luck of genetics and the high dosage I've started on?
Either way, I am clearly feminising and it's fucking awesome.
Not everything was about physical changes, though. I was increasingly getting very emotional, and while at first it was a bit disconcerting, on day 38 I wrote this:
At first, I found how emotional I was feeling very, very frustrating. Scary. Difficult.
But now… I’m comfortable with it. When I watch a movie and something just moves me so much, in a way it didn’t before. The cold detachment has begun to feel like it’s gone.
I don’t even know how much of it is me going through an emotional time with transitioning and how much is actual hormonal stuff. But I don’t care.
I feel like I’m waking up after being in a long, very broken nightmare.
The next few weeks were difficult for me. My personal life was getting increasingly tough, at the same time as I was feeling more emotional, crying at the drop of a hat over often-insignificant things like "we're almost out of tooth-paste".
On top of this, I had decided on a date to come out. I knew we were attending GX Australia, a diversity-positive games convention, to show off our video game. While I was still presenting pretty androgynously and intended to for a while, I knew I'd feel deeply uncomfortable attending while still being quiet about what I was going to. So I'd begun planning to come out right near the end of February, a while before the expo.
I also planned my coming-out day to be the day after my second visit to my endocrinologist and psychologist. On some level I was still worried that there was something off with my blood-work and I'd get in there to be told something like "sorry, your body is reacting badly and we have to cancel HRT entirely". I knew this was entirely unlikely as I'd never even heard of that happening, but by this point the idea of not doing HRT was so horrifying that it still gnawed at me.
Either way, it was a mental focus of mine and so the day after my endo and psych visit made the most sense. It'd give me a chance to talk about coming out with someone who isn't a friend, too, which was helpful.
But meanwhile, the biggest day to day problems were growing on my chest, and much faster than I'd expected.
There's an early stage of breast development where your actual breast tissue (the glands) grow, but fat redistribution hasn't happened yet. It's that "teen girl bump" stage. It's awkward because for me it meant I was frequently paranoid someone would think I just looked weird, and on top of that - it's sore as all fuck.
It also meant I was at the stage where people hugging me hello was often very uncomfortable. Well-meaning people would give me a big bear hug, especially if they were a close friend who already knew I was transitioning. Ow.
I had taken to wearing tight sports crops beneath my t-shirts for comfort, and to flatten my chest a bit for when I didn't feel comfortable presenting in any way femme.
At my endocrinologist's appointment, he gave me what'd be the first of a few choices. He noted that I had a lot of breast tissue. This wasn't a bad thing, just an idle observation. Something about my genetics.
He also said the large amount of muscle mass loss from my upper arms and shoulders was a very good sign - something I'd noticed nowhere near as much as my sore-as-fuck breasts and facial changes.
He did comment on those, though. So, oestrogen softens your skin and begins the process of subtle shifting of subcutaneous fat around your face. It 'softens', and begins to look more feminine.
He also noted that my body had naturally dropped my testosterone levels. I began with low T levels for a male, but after nearly two months on high levels of oestrogen, my T levels were about low-to-medium for a woman. This was a very good thing, he said.
So he gave me a choice: I could remain on 6mg/day of oestrogen and just keep changing more slowly, or he could start me on progesterone and an androgen-blocker to lower what little T levels I still had.
He explained that progesterone was the hormone mostly responsible for fat redistribution and nipple development. Basically - take it slow or go faster.
That was no real choice there for me. I was still presenting androgynously most of the time, but I didn't want to stay in this odd 'half way' place for any longer than I had to.
So the next day I began taking 5mg of Provera every day, and a disgusting gone-off-mint-tasting fucker of a pill called Spiractin (the androgen blocker). I had gotten used to swallowing small pills all the time, but Spiractin was something else. Not only were they actually pretty big compared to what I was used to, but the taste was so bad they often triggered my gag reflex. It was all I could manage to avoid coughing them back up as they went near the back of my mouth. Iiiick.
But I slowly got used to them.
Then came coming-out day, which was day 57 of HRT, I think.
I had been nervous leading up to it. But a week before, Jordan from a local and very popular geek band Axis of Awesome had come out as trans - with a fucking spectacular video. This helped immensely. "She can do it with a video. I just have to post some text."
But still, on the day I was absolutely terrified. I knew I was doing this in a way a little 'different' to most people I knew - the fact that I rarely presented feminine and was actually coming out after starting HRT rather than before seemed to be less common than I expected. But then, everyone's experience transitioning is personal and different.
Nothing is 'normal'.
My amazing friend Nel agreed to be with me the day I came out.
She came over, we had chocolate and tequila, and some time around midday, I put this blog post live, changed my name to Elissa on twitter, and posted a link to my coming-out post on my old Facebook account, tagging a new account I'd made.
I decided for a number of reasons I would make a new Facebook account. Among the many reasons (including not wanting to have an FB history - and photo history - that extended back into my pre-transition years) was forcing friends to make the active choice to continue interacting with me. If they were uncomfortable with me transitioning, I knew there'd be a chance they'd just quietly not add my new account.
I put everything live and sat on my balcony with Nel, so nervous I could barely function.
But it all went amazingly well. I cried as I got more supportive messages than I'd even hoped to get.
But the biggest thing was not having to pretend everything was business-as-usual. I could tweet about HRT, about my gender identity, about everything. I felt like I wasn't hiding any more.
Then, a few days later I wrote:
There’s no doubt about it any more. I have breasts. Actual breasts, and cleavage when I put my top on with a crop top. They're small, but they're there already.
I’m so fucking excited.