Month: April 2014

1 Year on Testosterone!

Now that I’ve been a year on testosterone, I’ve had a lot of time for self-reflection. This year has not been as easy as I thought it would be. Transitioning has consumed more of my mental energy than I ever thought it would. When I first began transitioning, I was a full-time student, working a part-time job (~20 hours a week), and volunteering in a research lab (~20 hours a week). On top of all that, I spent A LOT of free time doing research on trans related things: reading blogs, reading scientific journal articles, watching videos, etc.  I had also been accepted into my department’s contiguous B.S./M.S. program with the intention of completing a thesis by June 2014. It was overwhelming and exhausting.

Slowly, I began to realize it was probably too much for me. I couldn’t do ALL the things that I wanted to do. I quit my part-time job to focus more on research for my thesis. Even then, I felt stressed out. I kept thinking about how little time and relatively little guidance I had towards my thesis. By the end of November, I convinced myself that it would be impossible for me to complete my thesis by graduation time in June, but kept pushing along thinking that somehow I would pull through.

In August, I started CrossFit. As I got more into it, I began to realize how much all the stress was negatively impacting my health, both mentally and physically. In January, I officially quit my research position and decided that I would just take the comprehensive exam for my M.S. instead. Instantly, I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders. I was finally able to take the time I’ve been needing for self-care. I think what made the final push was attending T*Camp at the beginning of January. It made me realize definitively that my health was more important than trying to do ALL the things. I figured I should take this opportunity to really focus on myself while I could. It’s the first time since being in school that I haven’t had to worry about how I’m going to pay my bills, etc. I am so thankful that my husband has allowed me this time, especially before I have to get a “real” job.

But still, even though it has been somewhat stressful, transitioning is one of the best things I have done. It’s definitely not easy. Coming out to people is hard. You just never know how someone will react. Will they treat you differently even if they say they are fine with it? For the most part, I’ve had a really positive experience with coming out and just going about my life. I am thankful for this because I know a lot of people don’t have such good experiences, and I really feel for them.

The one thing I’ve learned is that even though transitioning is wonderful, it can still be exhausting and overwhelming at times. To those who are thinking about or who are transitioning, make sure to give yourself that personal time you need. Sometimes it’s easy to think you can do everything, but I think it’s healthier to take a step back and drop some of the less important things. One of the reasons most people transition is for their own mental and emotional health, so don’t overdo it.

On to my photos!

20140425 Back

20140425 Body

20140425 Full Body

 

I can’t believe it’s been a year already. It went by slow and fast all at the same time. I also have less than 8 weeks until top surgery!

From now on, I’ll only be doing a photo update every other month. I feel like the changes are starting to slow down. A lot of my body composition changes from now on I think are mostly going to be from working out and eating right.

I am excited that the hair on my tummy is finally visible in these pictures without having to take a close up shot.

I’ll be posting some comparison photos either later on today or over the weekend. I also hope to get a sound clip of my voice posted.

Until then! =)

Acne and Epsom Salt

Back in February, my gym put on this Whole30 challenge. which I mentioned some in this blog. Part of the challenge was to get in 20 minutes of relaxation with no technology. For the most part, I would read a book. However, at this time, I also really began to focus on my recovery and working on my muscle tightness/mobility issues. I looked into soaking in a hot bath with epsom salts. I’m not sure the epsom salts actually help with muscle relaxation, but I’m sure the hot baths do. That’s a topic for a fitness/science blog. One benefit I wasn’t expecting though was that my acne began to improve!

The acne on my face had gotten somewhat better when I changed the way I was eating, but the acne that had developed on my shoulders/upper back lingered. Once I started using the epsom salt baths though, I noticed that it seemed to be going away. Since then, I’ve been using the epsom salts more for the fact that it helps with my acne. My skin isn’t as clear as it used to be, but it’s definitely better than it has been since it started breaking out from the testosterone use. Hopefully, as time goes on and my body reaches some sort of equilibrium, my skin will go back to pre-T status with regards to acne.

I should note that I wash my face 1-2 times a day depending on if I worked out.

I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has used epsom salts for acne after testosterone.

Catching Up With Past Lives

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I spent the weekend at my mom’s house this weekend because one of her old friend’s that I haven’t seen in about 5 years or so was visiting. I thought it would be nice to see her and her daughter.

It was actually really nice, but one of the downsides was that because she hasn’t seen me in such a long time, there was a lot of my birth name and female pronouns coming out. I think it made my mom even worse than she already is. My mom’s friend’s daughter would correct them though, so it was nice that there was at least one person on top of things. Even I corrected them a couple of time, and I never do that.

I do think it’s especially hard for others to change the way they think about someone who has transitioned particularly when they are talking or remembering things that happened in the past. I’m not sure there’s anything that can really be done about this. They may see you how you are now, but when they think about you in the past, it’s like you’re a different person to them.

Changing Perception

A few weekends ago, my friend invited me out to an event at the lesbian bar. It’s been a while since I went out to a mostly gay and lesbian space. Last time, I was feeling extremely dysphoric due to the fact that I was misgendered the whole time.

This time was completely different. I actually felt pretty invisible. The lesbians pretty much ignored me, not so much of a smile or even a nod. It was pretty much the same with the gay men, too. It was very strange to feel like an outsider in a community that I used to feel so comfortable in, especially while I was in the military.

I have mixed feelings about this. One one hand, it’s nice to know that I’ve progressed so much in my transition that I’m pretty much seen as a guy now, but on the other hand, I feel like I’m not a member of that community anymore. I don’t get that silent acknowledgement from lesbians anymore when I’m out and about. I’m not sure if that’s even a thing among gay men.

I don’t really feel like I fit in with straight men, either. Ever since I joined the CrossFit gym, I actually feel more comfortable with the women in the gym. Whereas before transitioning, I used to feel more comfortable hanging out with the guys. I’m not sure if it’s just a numbers game. In the military and in most of my classes in school, there have been more men than women, so I had more friends that were men. But in the gym, it seems as if there are more women than men at the times that I am there. So maybe that’s why I am more comfortable around them?

It’s interesting the path that life leads us. Maybe as I continue further into my transition, this will be a non issue. I think sometimes (or a lot of the time) I’m still really self-conscious about how I am perceived by others. I still have this picture of myself in my head of me pre-transition. When I look in the mirror, I’m reminded of how I really look. But, I don’t see myself all the time, so the old image of myself is still there most of the day. I think my own perception of myself is taking longer to change than anyone else’s perception of me. It’s something I never thought about before as an aspect of transition. I haven’t seen any others talk about this either in blogs or vlogs.