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.