8pm: First T shot. 0.5ml of 100ml of Depo T (0.5cc)
Apart from feeling tremendous relief, I had a few moments of intense panic: what if after all of this, T is not right for me? People say you can feel immediately whether it’s the right decision. What would I do if this is not right for me. Truthfully? I have absolutely no idea, because being in this body has become untenable. The other anxiety was exactly that – anxiety. Having suffered from generalised anxiety disorder my whole life, and having been on top of it for years now, tonight before, during and after the shot I experienced panic attack level anxiety. And my worry was that T would induce panic attacks again. (But that hasn’t happened as the week has gone on, and I have definitely become more comfortable with T being right for me).
Feeling more present in my body – I think this is just due to the fact that I’m constantly checking myself for feeling differently in my body.
9pm: I just had the most incredible experience. My nightly ablutions in front of the wall of mirror in the bathroom is normally an intensely uncomfortable experience. The one time in my day where I can’t get away from the disparity between what’s in my head and what I see in the mirror. Tonight: I felt completely at peace with what I saw; could look at my body objectively and without emotion, for the first time in my life, because my body as it is now is just a cocoon from which I will soon emerge. For the first time in my life I do not feel like a prisoner in my own body. And, while dysphoria is at once better (things are going to change! Whoohooo), it is also worse – as I described and shared the above feelings with my partner, I wanted to convey how huge this moment was and showed her the scarring from my bra straps, how relieved I was to finally feel that I was now able to do something about the body that had held me hostage since puberty. And as I told her, I experienced an overwhelming and visceral hatred of my breasts and wanted to hit them. I haven’t experienced an urge to self mutilate since I overcame being a cutter in 2007. It seems that now that I’m taking control over my body and making changes, I’m finally allowing myself to feel just how difficult and uncomfortable being in that body has been… A blogger friend of mine echoes this: how dysphoria becomes worse after starting T and losing weight – because suddenly you’re now in your body and paying attention to it, after years of neglecting it, abusing it, putting on weight to distance yourself from how feminine it is.
Swam today and just had a lot more stamina 🙂 Yes. I’m aware of the self-fulfilling prophecy aspect of all this, but that just shows the power of self belief – whether it be the actual T or just being on the right path.
I’m ok – nothing to report (impatience!!!) Trained today and felt I had more stamina while running. Nothing unusual in the weight lifting department yet. Feeling a bit deflated; a sense of anti-climax. This is apparently quite normal. Finally took my pre-T photos of myself so that I can track my progress (this helps with the impatience – it’s difficult to track progress from the inside of your body; taking photos helps to show the progress you’re making). I’ve been putting this off for a week. Because dysphoria. It was really difficult, especially posting them to social media. But now that it’s done I’m looking forward to seeing the changes.
And suddenly, after a week of nothing, I can see more definition in my arms, found a hair on my chin and have more sensitivity in my clitoris. Second puberty has officially begun… I can also report on my emotions, because I left the house to go somewhere other than the gym today and actually interacted with people (I work from home, so other than the split-second interactions I have with people at the gym and cashiers behind grocery store counters, I don’t deal with any human interaction apart from my partner): I’m feeling a bit under the weather emotionally, a bit fragile, and more irritable than usual. This might also be because of impending menstruation. Might also be the pre-T shot ‘dip’ a lot of guys report before their next T shot.
Thursday, 15/10: T-shot day
Second T shot. 0.5ml of 100ml of Depo T (0.5cc)
I was warned about the pre-shot day dip… Where your body starts craving the T. I didn’t expect it to be this bad, though. Woke up on Wednesday morning with depression, irritability, feeling emotional (angry, sad, all of it). Spoke to a couple of guys (because freakout) and they reassured me that it was totally normal and that it would go away within the first two to three weeks. What’s interesting/scary/exciting is that T withdrawals feel the same as anti-depressant withdrawals, meaning, hopefully, that the T is improving my moods and that once my T levels stabilise my mood will be better and stable.
Had the shot and am definitely very comfortable injecting myself, although I’ve only done thighs. Will try glutes next week. I’m still getting used to preparing the needle and drawing the T, so will continue to do shot night with my transguy brothers, but want to move to doing T by myself first thing on a Monday morning so that it becomes a more meaningful personal ritual, an intention setting for the week.
In general, I’m feeling excited for the week ahead – hoping to see more impact from the T at gym. I’ve been training 4-5 days a week up until the last 6 weeks, but as I’ve said have been too emotionally and physically exhausted from the ‘coming out’ process over the last few weeks to continue training. I want to push through the exhaustion in the next week and get back into training because it really does improve my moods. It’s the best part of my day.
I’m also feeling a bit panicky about the changes to come. Partly for me, because unknown, and partly because of my partner, because she’s still trying to come to terms with all of this and doesn’t know how she’s going to handle it. And that’s scary because it’s not just about me and managing my feelings.
In terms of the issues I raised in my video, I’ve tried not to think about those issues too much because I’ve been trying to take it easy on myself in the first few weeks as my body adjusts, but I must say that while watching the video with my partner, I realised just how tricky this avoiding male privilege and smashing the patriarchy while increasing my masculinity is going to be… I speak in the video about wanting to avoid male privilege, and at the same time speak about looking forward to being safer in my body… Um, male privilege, dude… But as a friend of mine says, life is about trying to manage one’s principles in relation to lived experience (thanks, Cameron). As with any privilege, being aware even, and especially, in the throes of a privileged act is what it’s all about. So I’d like to try and remain as self-aware and self-reflexive as possible through this whole journey.
One of the other difficulties that’s become even more prominent this week is the ‘on testosterone community’, and my outsider status within it. There are very, very few non-binary/genderqueer, etc. people on testosterone on Instagram. So I’m getting A LOT of support from trans guys, which I’m very, very grateful for. Very. But at the same time my process and journey is very different from theirs. I cringe when they call me ‘man’ and when they overuse the term ‘brother’. But I realise that this newfound inclusion into the cismale, transman and masculine communities is going to be something I’m going to have to come to terms with, while maintaining my difference and identity apart from those communities. This shouldn’t be too difficult, though, as being an outsider in relation to a community has been par for the course so far in my life. And so I cling to the other outsiders, the gender outlaws (with apologies and gratitude to Kate Bornstein) who make a mockery of the idea that there are only two genders. My friend and writer, AJ Ripley’s blog is a great gender outlaw narrative to cling to.