everything and nothing

There was much bickering and deliberating in the meeting halls of my mind.  The choice no longer whether I would start testosterone or not, but when, where and how.  The easier decisions were logistical, even concrete.  Testosterone gel is applied daily and should be applied at or around the same time every day.  The application process, while not exactly micro-surgery, requires a space where one will not be interrupted, clean dry shoulders, and approximately 10 minutes.  I also needed to figure out disposal of the empty gel packets where there would be no chance of residual gel coming into contact with the other inhabitants of the house.

The bigger issue was the what.  Specifically what to do about Emily.  I hadn’t kept Emily anywhere near the loop never mind in it.  She didn’t know about my medical appointment or my getting the prescription or any of the difficulties in obtaining the prescription.  She didn’t know I had the testosterone in the house!  Thank goodness for my super secret hiding place 🙂

I will spare you the details of the long and exhausting committee meetings that went round and round in my brain late into many nights.  I ultimately convinced myself that I should start on the testosterone without telling Emily anything.  As an aside, it amazes me the things we can convince ourselves of.  I felt though that I had sound reasoning for my decision (having convinced myself of the soundness of my reasoning).  First and foremost I wanted to have my own experience of the effects of the testosterone without the pressure and influence of Emily’s fears and sadness (or whatever other feelings she would have).  I wanted a pure unbiased-by-anyone-else experience.  Second, I know Emily well enough to know that she has very strong feelings and defenses in anticipation and advance of change.  And those anticipatory feelings are not always the ones she ends up with in the long run.  Emily refers to this as *frontloading* her anxieties.  But Emily’s *frontloading* always affects me.  Time and time again Emily’s *frontloading* has either colored or completely changed my experience of something… sometimes long after her own feelings have settled and she’s gotten “on board” with a change.  {A great example of this was our move to this house.  I was totally behind the move and excited about the house and location.  Emily was devastated leaving our first home, the home we had made together.  It was clearly and loudly excruciating for Emily to leave that house and move to this one, and in having listened to her, supported her and comforted her, my own feelings for this house became sullied and negative.  To the point where three years in I still hated the house.}

Anyway, I made my decision to start the testosterone without telling Emily.  I decided to start on a Saturday morning as this is the day that the Lord has made.  Laugh my ass off, I just had to say that.  No, seriously, Saturday is the day I begin my day with leading religious services and with contemplative introspection.  Of course I barely slept that Friday night in anticipation.  I got up Saturday morning, took the dog out and fed her and showered as usual.  Then I snuck to my super secret hiding place and removed one gel packet from the box, and with that in shaking hand, I locked myself in our bathroom.

The foil packet felt cool and light in my hand and I wondered fleetingly about whether the contents should be kept cool or warmed in the hand for best effect.  I breathed deeply, focused and said a prayer.  As there is no formal prayer for such an occasion (though I am quite well aware that there is a prayer for having reached an auspicious moment), and as my heart was filled to bursting, I said the words my soul whispered.  The prayer was filled with yearning, echoing the fragile hope of a lifetime.  I blew on the barely kindled flames of welcome and acceptance, being and belonging.

And then I ripped the top off the packet.  A small clear drop appeared at the opening and I gingerly turned the packet over above my shoulder and squeezed gently.  There was about a teaspoon of clear liquid the consistency of hand sanitizer.  In fact, the look and smell was exactly like hand sanitizer (or, “hanitizer” as Joita used to say).  Rubbing it in was more like pushing it around on my upper arm (again, very similar to sanitizer).  It didn’t seem to absorb and worry flashed through my mind that I was doing something wrong.  More deep breathing and self-reassurance.  This was not rocket science.  I squeezed the remaining gel onto my opposite shoulder.  I scraped every scintilla of gel out of that small packet, using my nail and then folding it in on itself repeatedly until I was sure it was completely and definitely empty.  Then I stood stupidly before the mirror, shirtless, waiting for the gel to dry on my skin.  Until I realized I was holding my breath.

In those fleeting moments I felt absolutely nothing.  And unequivocally everything.  The *nothing* that I felt was just me.  I felt very much just like myself.  The *me* that I’ve been ever since the day of my birth.  The *everything* that I felt was also just me.  I felt like *me* only moreso somehow.  Still the *me* inside the me.  Yet something felt *right*.  I’ve heard transguys say, using a computer analogy, that testosterone makes them feel like they are running on the right and most up-to-date operating system.  Though tech concepts and imagery don’t necessarily resonate for me, I would have to say that is the best comparison I’ve heard so far.  It was the most imperceptible flick of a switch.  But something was now running on the correct operating system.

Driving to work I continued to consider my awareness that something had shifted.  I just didn’t know what.  As I drove I did a systematic mental and system check-in similar to what I sometimes do pre-meditation to help me settle, where I focus individually and methodically.  Feet and legs and knees and thighs all felt fine and the same.  Same with butt and hips and back and even shoulders.  No difference.  Arms, hands, cheeks, chin, ears, eyes and scalp all *normal*.  I chalked up the “slight shift” to a placebo effect and left it at that.

It wasn’t until about halfway through services that morning that I realized what it was that was different.  My head was quiet.  The general state of the inside of my skull is a constant flow of critique and endless chatter.  My mental energy is focused on not listening to it and/or shutting it up.  The unremitting patter of choleric analysis is ever an undercurrent in my head and always has been.  For the first time in my life my mind was serene.  I could hear myself think.  It was the weirdest, craziest and sanest experience!  There was suddenly so much room in my head.  Quiet, peaceful, gentle quiet.  “I think I’m going to like this”, I thought to myself.

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About halitentwo

i am. god is. we are. as soon as i write something about me i change, am different, evolving. i am trans. i am a parent. i am a partner. i am a human. i am attempting to live a well-lived life in the spaces in between, beyond definition, fluid, dynamic, omnifarious and always changing. hopefully growing.
This entry was posted in feelings, no man's land. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to everything and nothing

  1. Kris says:

    SO happy for you! But: sometime you will have to spill the beans, my friend. I am holding thumbs there won’t be any explosion to shatter your serenity. Peace, brother.

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