I know it’s been more than 30 days. And, as they say, the best laid plans… often go awry. I had every intention of writing about my feelings and reactions and responses to testosterone on a regular basis, in real time, as changes happen. But change is slow. In my case, nearly non-existent. I could just have you reread my day five post and you’d know pretty much all there is to know. Five days or thirty days, I’ll say it again, I’m not on enough testosterone to make any real discernible difference. I mean, outwardly at least. Inwardly, the initial changes of “feeling like I’m running on the right operating system or with the correct gasoline“, and feeling upbeat and happy continue to prevail. In addition to the placid waters of my soul, much of my internal critical dialogue remains quiet. It’s hard to adequately describe or even explain. It isn’t that I don’t have any inner repartee. I do. I still think to myself, in my head, and comment or wonder over things, but the judgement and derogatory disparagement has lessened to a great degree. I can look in a mirror, for example, and wonder if what I’m seeing is what is real or if my dysphoria simply does not allow me to see what my body truly looks like. And even though I’m pondering this question, I can move on without an answer and, more importantly, without self flagellation. I wonder if my original primary pundit with all its negativity and scathing critique and now the testosterone tranquility is specific to me, and if not, what this means on a grander scale. Do most men simply not have that inner running negative commentary about themselves? How glorious for them! And are most women subjected to the ever-present litany of antagonism that erodes any sense of self-confidence or appreciation? How awful. And , the age-old question, is it nature or nurture? Or should everyone just take testosterone?!
In my 5-day post I began with the feeling that the writing should have come more easily. I believe the exact phrase I used was “easy-peasy super-cinchy“. More than one person pointed that out to me, suggesting that those were not very *manly* descriptors, gently poking fun at me for my frilly, feminized language. In the same vein, I have also been told that men do not *tinkle* or say they have to tinkle if they need to use the bathroom. I’m going to have a hard time changing those things I think. I like playing with language and believe language should be colorful and fun. Lucky for me I have my handy-dandy thesaurus. So from now on I’m going to announce my need to micturate any time I need to tinkle. But back to my update…
One side-effect of testosterone that had me worried was the potential for increased anger. As I’ve stated many times, my patience is tissue-thin on a good day and I have been anxious about any additional fuel for my already smoldering fire. Since starting testosterone, I wouldn’t say I have felt an increase in anger or aggression per se, but I would definitely say I feel more… I’m not sure what word adequately describes the feeling… I guess I would say predatory. I’m not sure how to tease it out or label it other than that. It’s more a flavor than a feeling, more esoteric than explicit. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing and feels emotionally quite neutral. It’s something a hair beyond confidence but just shy of aggression and there is a hint of sexual element in there. It is definitely something new, something that is on my radar and I find myself noting it as I move through my days.
As I move through my days, I don’t feel that I am so different in the world, as if I present or appear any different to others. But I do feel inexorably different within myself. And perhaps that translates into different in the world. I don’t know. I’m also not really talking with people about all this, so maybe it’s harder for me to say. Of the very few folks I’m sharing with, they say I’m just me, they don’t notice a perceptible difference. Though Joyce swears I smell different (even though I have worn the same cologne (men’s) since my freshman year in high school) so I’m not sure what she’s sniffing.
It isn’t that I’m impatient, eager, yearning or pushing for more outward signs of change. I’ve said from the beginning that I am comfortable moving slowly and letting things unfold gradually. It’s more that I do feel so different internally and it’s hard for me to believe that those inner changes are not at all visible outwardly. Remember the first time you had sex? Actually, remember the day after the first time you had sex? Something monumental had happened to you, your inner landscape had confetti flying everywhere. And yet, no one could see that. You walked around all that day with a secret smile playing on your lips, a subtle shiver running down your spine, but no one else could detect even a hint of anything. My experience with testosterone is like that. It is reminiscent of when I realized gay was a thing and that it might explain me (when I was 14). It was an epiphany, such a huge revelation, a shattering of worlds, so momentous a reality shift for me. And the fact that no one could see anything different about me was astonishing.
Actually there is one tiny outward difference having started testosterone. The only outer physical difference is that I’m beginning to see some acne. I had ZERO acne when I went through puberty as a girl despite the fact that I wore thick pancake makeup base for quite a while (amazing it didn’t clog all my pores with filth and ruin my skin forever). This testosterone acne is new and weird to me. Greasy, red zits that feel gross and yet, I can’t seem to pop them. They’re just there. My skin feels (though doesn’t seem to look) more oily and I’m finding myself using straight-up rubbing alcohol a few times daily to keep it at bay. Mostly the acne is on my shoulders and hairline. I’ve gotten a few beauties on my face. But I don’t think the average person in my life would notice it as anything unusual. Especially if I can restrain myself from picking at them.
All in all I feel quite content, happy, hopeful and grateful. Amen.