Some observations about physically transitioning.
- I'm now two months and change into HRT, and I began pretty brutally. Due, I'm told to my low testosterone levels I was put on 6mg/day of oestrogen from the outset. (For context, most other people I know transitioning were put on androgen blockers and a lower dosage of oestrogen... by about a factor of six.) While on balance it's been good, the early side-effects of being carpet-bombed with oestrogen were not much fun. I plan to go into more detail about this in future posts, as I transcribe my transition diary from January/February. But for now, I'm just going to continue with random observations.
- Confirmation bias sucks. Knowing roughly what things would change meant I was looking for them. Sometimes specifically. Which means I had to be very wary of seeing what I wanted to see. As a result, I kept almost sitting in denial about certain changes until I got confirmation by someone raising them around me without prompting. "Hey... your face looks sort of... softer?" for instance.
- At first, I was wary of shaving body hair I was uncomfortable with. I knew (or, rather, THOUGHT I knew) that it'd just grow back thicker in the short term. My endocrinologist shut me down quickly on that. Shaving is fine, and no, it doesn't grow back quicker. He suggested against plucking or waxing, though, as sometimes hair growing back could be ingrown, or at an angle making future electrolysis more difficult.
- I've fortunately been blessed with relatively little body hair... except on my legs. Shaving them for the first tim was a unique experience. It took forever, and even days later feelings mind-bendingly weird. Seriously, not just when I touch them, but slipping into bed, putting on pants - when you've spent decades feeling fabric pressing on fairly thick body hair, your body feels almost... well... you know that feeling after your dentist "cleans" your teeth by whatever mad process that is? And your teeth feel kinda slimy? That. That feeling. But on legs.
- To use a Matrix term... Residual Self Image. I am constantly surprised seeing myself in the mirror. I blink several times, lean in and just sit here, amazed at how different I look even after just two months. But after a few hours, my brain switches back my idea of what I look like to something closer to how I looked 6-12 months ago. It probably sounds bizarre, but I've taken to capturing selfies and staring at myself for a few moments every now and again just to remind myself what I look like now. To feel less awkward about my body. And yeah... it works.
- Occasionally, I sometimes get flashes of fear about transitioning. Not that I second-guess my decision for a moment - the idea of not transitioning is so depressing that for weeks just mulling over the idea would often make me tear up. No, but the speed of changes. Transitioning, I've discovered, is a grab bag of "what's going to change next?", and having a 'transition plan' seems rather pointless. I mean, it felt nice to have some idea how I'd like to transition, but when it comes down to it, I'm at the mercy of whatever the bloody hell my body decides it's going to do. I'm just along for the ride.
- The fact that my body is changing so fast means that I'm wary of spending much money on clothes. I have no idea how long things will fit on me, and have no idea what kind of clothing will look best on me six or eight months from now, never mind the years beyond that.
- All in, I'd describe the physical aspects of HRT very simply: exciting as all fuck. For the first time in my life, I'm beginning to actually not hate my body. And that's fucking awesome.