The start of the journey
I got into bed for the first night on my new journey. I could just feel the patch on my right thigh and, as I drifted off into a deep sleep, I wondered what life would be like in the coming years. What seemed like only moments later I suddenly woke up. I didn’t know what had awoken me but my mind quickly focused in on my right leg which was aching so much, I thought it might drop off. In the initial panic I moved and I must’ve woken my wife.
“What?” she said half awake. “I think the hormones are going to make my leg fall off!” I replied in a serious tone. “Well, if it does fall off, then wake me.” was the caring reply.
At this point my brain was going wild with speculation – What should I do? Who should I call? “Will you stop moving and go to sleep? Your leg is not falling off. It’s only a hormone patch, stop being such a MAN.” What a rebuke! So I sulked, like a man, and grudgingly went to sleep.
The same story was repeated a few days later with the left leg except my wife’s response was unprintable. To be frank, when I first started taking the hormones I put every little twinge of pain, every outburst of emotion and every single thought down to my being hormonal. Of course, as was so rightly pointed out by my wife, this was, in reality, just me being my usual male self. This news came as a disappointment, the changes weren’t as pronounced as I had hoped and life was still the same.
Four Months on
Fast forward almost four months. The changes have been small each day and it’s only in hindsight that I can now see them as a whole. The days with a deep dark cloud hanging over me seem distant now. I still get down, but the down days are punctuated by good days for the first time in many years. My senses are definitely different and stronger, smell in particular – I didn’t realise men could smell so bad! Another revelation my wife chuckled at.
I guess the question I have to ask myself is: do I feel more like a woman after four months on drugs? To be honest, I’m not sure I can answer. Others may see the results more clearly, than I do. But what I can say is I feel more like ME and that’s good enough.
Six Months on… Update
It’s been six months since I started hormone treatment and it seems clear in retrospect that nothing quite prepared me for the changes. My counsellor warned me about managing my expectations but naturally the tendency is to dream of what I might be, or in my case what I might have been, had I started hormones when I was young.
Being ever so slightly vain I do tend to look at myself in the mirror in the mornings and try and spot any changes. Is my face more rounded? Do I look more feminine? There is an online site which enables you to compare your facial features to famous people. Depressingly, on what I think is my best photo I supposedly look like a mix between James Spader and Amanda Plummer. A second photo reveals I look more like Bill Nighy.
I also seem to be obsessed with weight loss and getting rid of my tummy. Breathe in! More sit-ups! Let’s not even start talking about whether my backside is getting bigger. More squats! Oh and did I mention my hair? What used to be my study has morphed into a mini hair salon – who knew I would need this many tools and products?
Obviously transition is not all about looks so how am I doing emotionally? Well it was rather up and down to start with. I have always been an emotional person so the hormones seemed to make things worse. I would go from happy to sad in an instant. Luckily, these times seem mostly behind me and I seem to have stabilised into a happier person.
As I mentioned in my previous blog the depression seems to have abated. It is noticeable, however, that my personality has changed somewhat or at least the female part of my persona has been let out. I am definitely more outgoing and noticeably more flirty.
This has lead to a few concerns. I am not out at work as I have kept the two parts of my life separate. But, however hard I try Samantha seeps over into work life and from time-to-time things just slip out. I did, recently, put up a rather too-spirited defence over coffee on transgender rights and self-determination which led to many asking how I knew so much.
All I could think to say was: “er…I know someone who is trans, a friend of a friend”. Of course sometime soon I will have to come out at work before too many rumours start. My suspicion is that, at the moment, my coworkers put any quirks in my behaviour down to my being English (I live in Sweden). Whatever the future holds, I am sure it will be interesting.
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