May the fourth be with you, but especially with me. It was on this day two years ago that I took my first dose of Micronised Estradiol and Spironolactone, aka Estrace and Aldactone. It was four days later that I noticed the first signs of something happening when I found myself thinking about coding problems instead of obsessing about trans stuff like I had been for the last five months. Ten days later my breasts came alive, and I started on the greatest roller coaster ride of my life.
I replaced the oral estradiol with injected Estradiol Valerate after 5 months, which gave the ride another kick. At 13 months I had my first gender affirming surgery and was able to stop taking the Spiro, which again kicked off a spree of changes.
By this point all the big hitters have come and gone and life is pretty much settled into how it’s going to be from here on out. It’s been a LONG time since I was last misgendered in public (tho occasionally I’ll get odd looks or awkward conversations that I have to assume are someone clocking me).
I remember years back how people said that even tho it isn’t always visible in timelines, there’s just as many changes in year two as there were in year one, and it is so true, but it was definitely helped along by the orchiectomy. The difference between May 2018 and July 2018 is stark, and not just because I colored my hair.
But the thing that changed the most over the last two years wasn’t physical at all. I am not even remotely the same person that I was in 2016. I don’t even think I could enumerate all the ways that my personality has shifted. I’m way more vibrant in the way I interact with others, more evocative and enthusiastic. The old me was always numb, barely present, just drifting through the world from one event to another with little engagement. I wanted to be part of social gatherings, but would always find myself on the outside, unable to engage. I have more interesting conversations and feel like I’m connecting to people much more deeply.
While I still have retained all of the same interests I had pre-transition, many of them have taken a back seat. A whole new world of fascination and delights has opened up to me and completely eclipsed many of the things that used to occupy all my time.
Fashion and cosmetics is definitely chief among these, and have given me so many new forms of expression and creativity. I used to wear the same boring clothes every single day, making slight changes for weather as the year moved through the seasons. Now… I rarely wear the exact same outfit twice, and even when I try to duplicate a makeup look, it comes out completely different because I approach it from a different way. I care so much more about my appearance now, and I’m happy that I care more. Going into my closet and saying “what the hell am I going to wear today” still makes an inner part of me leap for joy.
The way I see the world has dramatically changed, both in good and bad ways. I was always cognoscente of how much privilege I had before, but now I can actually feel how much it is gone, and with that has come an acute awareness of just how awful most men are at wielding the power they’re granted, and how pathetic they are when they feel that power threatened. The whole experience with my boss made it so incredibly visible, and now I see it everywhere.
My confidence in myself has expanded, both in how I move through the world, and how I relate to it. I feel like I know my place better now, I know what I want and what I need and I’m going to get it (eventually, ADHD willing).
My kinship with women feels so much stronger. The feeling of pride in other women’s accomplishments and in moments of girl power is so intense, and I never felt anything like that from maleness. The energy that is present when a group of women get together is electrifying and empowering. The support that women can show towards one another in hard times, the empathy and compassion, the ability to listen and sympathize… it’s beautiful. Sure, there’s moments that suck; the way patriarchy makes women compete with each other at a subconscious level is just dehumanizing, and the clique that can form are just as bad with adults as they are with teens.
Meanwhile, with the severing of any kind of attachment to manhood, my misandry has flourished, and it feels so freeing. Where once I might have made a defense for bad male behavior, now I have no reason to make excuses. The bar for men is set so incredibly low, and yet so very few are able to meet it. Where once I might have tried to argue with men over their incredibly bad perceptions, now I just dust my hands of them, expecting nothing of their self awareness. Thank god I am a lesbian, because if I was straight I would never be able to find a partner that wasn’t some kind of huge settlement. Seriously, straight girls, I don’t know how you do that.
Actually, I do know how they do it, because they’re so used to it being this bad that they just accept it as normal. Katharine did it for me, and she’s not even straight. My mother totally did it, and even admitted that she married my father out of pity. That’s one of the other changes in perception that has come; I see heteronormativity EVERYWHERE.
It is all around us. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes.
This past year Katharine participated in an effort to get our daughter’s school to change the gendered parent dances (eg, father/daughter) into something that was more inclusive of more families. The school recognized the problem and changed the dances to just be one night for the male students and one night for the female students (because they can’t fit the entire student body into the multipurpose room at once). After the change was announced, it was the kind of thing that you looked at and just went “this is so obviously better, why did it take so long to happen?”
Above all else, I feel so much more alive. Live is worth living now, and I’m soaking in it.