Peering into the Abyss. The Abyss Peering Back.

As many of you know (and many of you wished me well, and I thank you for that), last Tuesday I was supposed to have my first testosterone shot.  I chose to postpone it until Feb. 21st.

Last week I was freaking out, big time.  I was stuck in this ugly place surrounded by all the extreme and negative consequences of testosterone.  I had convinced myself I was damaged and mistaken and I was doing psychological harm and I would regret going through with hormonal transitioning.  And so on top of that I was then saddened by the idea of being stuck in my current body.

It got ugly.  Then I watched this video:

I love Dade’s videos, but this one just freaked me out.  The idea of not recognizing myself has crossed my mind.  And that terrifies me.  I think I’m just going to have to be conscious of paying attention to all the changes, the widening of my jaw, the facial fat redistribution.  I think in the beginning most trans folks are paying real close attention: we are anxious for the hormones to start making the difference we want them to make.  But I can see how, many months in, I could lose track a bit and catch a reflection in the mirror that is unfamiliar.

And so as the evening went on, I got a terrible stomach ache, which I presumed to be anxiety-produced, and decided that hey, if I’m getting so wound up about this that I’m giving myself stomach aches and calling myself names, maybe I’m not ready for T yet.

Then the vomiting started.  It was a flu, not anxiety.  So I’m lying in bed, shaking and moaning and I make a deal with God: take away this disgusting illness and I won’t go on T.  Yes, it’s superstitious and embarrassing and not a little bit transphobic, but I want to be honest.  This is me being vulnerable, damnit.

I woke up the next morning and immediately reneged on my promise.  God didn’t heal me, my immune system did, and even if God (exists and) heard me, I’m certain the creator of the universe (has more important shit to do and) is smarter than to expect payment on deals made in extreme physical duress.

But, I did feel that a little more time was needed: I wanted to write some sort of good-bye note to the old me, I wanted to get in touch with a trans dude support group, I wanted to make some plans for upcoming posts to mark, in my own way, the impending changes.  I was able to do all that, and now I feel a bit more ready.  I just felt like I was about to do this big important thing with no way to honor the old me and the impending new me.  I feel more settled now.  Not entirely, but now I can pinpoint my anxiety to the unknown, and not shit I have left unfinished.

Essentially, I am beginning to obsess a bit, obsess about the unknown, about the negative, and it does me no good.  I cannot keep watching youtube videos, expecting to find some snake oil sentiment that will cure my nerves.  There aren’t answers to my questions, yet.  I understand the parameters to my decision to take testosterone: I know the pros and cons, I am as informed as a responsible adult can be.  I have to trust that the way I have felt about my body since I was 3 years old is true.  I have to trust that we all die of something, and that testosterone alone isn’t going to kill me.*  I have to trust the professionals in my life that are telling me I am making an informed decision, and I have to trust that they will help me look for any warning signs.

I have to redirect my attention to the positive, to the likely, and away from the scary, unlikely negatives.  After all, I could get ovarian cancer and die from the estrogen in my system.  And how pissed would I be about that!

I have to keep saying, “fuck it.”  Over and over again, “fuck it.” Because I have done the research and I am ready.  But standing on this cliff is doing me no good.  It’s actually hurting me.  It’s time to jump.

So, in the coming weeks and months expects videos to start popping up on My Life Without Tits.  Expect a new feature, “Boy Experimentation.”  Expect voice recordings of poems, in different registers, as we spend this time together.

Get excited and be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli

-Matt Kailey just posted a question on his blog, concerning trans dudes and dying.  Check it here.

16 thoughts on “Peering into the Abyss. The Abyss Peering Back.

  1. I remember the first time I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and didn’t see a man but the woman I was born to be. Yes: it can be a shock. But for me, it was a “Hey, check it out” kind of positive shock.

    There are things I’ve had to mourn and things that I’m still mourning. But that’s probably true of life in general, transition aside.

    -Connie

    • Thanks, Connie, for your thoughts. I still feel on the fence about it, like I’m not dedicated enough (or unhappy in my current body enough) to warrant all the risks associated with HRT. So I may still not receive T on the 21st. But I’m definitely going to see my doctor that day, and have a chat with him.

      -E

  2. Eli,
    I’m sorry this decision has brought you so much anxiety. I worry that, when the time comes, I too will feel similar. As of right now, my biggest fear overall is being too afraid to actually make these changes, to leap off that cliff you’re discussing. It’s great that you’re making yourself as prepared and educated as possible. As always, best of luck to you.
    -Max

  3. One thing that I’ve had to come to terms with is the idea that there probably is no “right” decision. Some decisions are going to feel better than others and those are probably the ones I want to make. What causes me the most pain so far is doubting myself after I’ve made a decision, much more so than any real repurcussion of what ever decision I’ve made. So I’ve been practicing paying less attention to the doubt and looking for interesting things about where I currently am. If you want to talk, let me know.
    ~Nat

  4. Well, my friend, to echo those above me, there’s no rush (unless you want there to be), and there’s no One Right Way (unless you decide it), and there’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to make sure you’re ready before you start something as big as this. Because it is big. Really fucking big. My oddly-put point is only this: take your time if you need to (but not if you don’t!). You have lots of life left in you yet; not to mention that injectable T is patient, and it won’t hold grudges if you keep it waiting.

    In terms of fear versus sensible caution, I don’t think there’s any easy way to tell the difference. But holding out for a greater degree of certainty is a strength and not a weakness, and even if fear has more of a hold than caution, waiting for it to be reasoned out is understandable and wise.

    Positive is good, and focusing on that is the best way to combat fears (as I’ve found, anyway). So if you’re primed to jump, then jump away, and here I am, excited and primed to hear about it.

    -JC

  5. My parents helped throw me a “Brannen Party” to celebrate my transition and general me-ness, regardless of what I looked or sounded like when I started T. Would something like that help you out?

  6. Pingback: Retrospect | My Life Without Tits

  7. Pingback: Remembrance: Matt Kailey | My Life Without Tits

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