If you’re here for a quick HRT update, I’ll let you know upfront that so far the most notable changes are still definitely mood related. The hot flashes have calmed down a lot (which is a big relief), but I have noticed I’m a little quicker to anger than usual. In situations where I would usually have just gotten sad, I’ve started getting a little cranky. Not a big deal, but I’m definitely going to stay conscious of it so that I don’t do too much damage when I get hangry. Otherwise, my newfound confidence and steady mood have largely stayed in place, and I’m feeling extra comfy in my body. A slight increase in libido has emerged too, but nothing crazy. Oh- and with the uptick in energy I’ve been moving a lot more, and I’ve even got some sore muscles in my legs now. I really missed that feeling.
If you’re interested in some more in-depth thoughts about the experience of starting HRT, then I’ll have to give you a metaphor.
So far, my gender journey has felt a little bit like trying to climb down a steep, precarious cliff. At the top of the cliff is the life I left behind living as a cisgender woman, and somewhere beyond the base of the cliff is whatever my new life has in store.
Discovering my gender identity and coming out has been a process of carefully scooting towards the cliff edge, sliding over feet-first, and slowly making my way down the face of the cliff. I have been terrified of slipping or letting go: leaving behind the comfort and security of my femininity for the vast unknown. So I have been clinging to the last vestiges of cisness in my life, and when life as a non-binary person becomes too overwhelming I could at least escape for a little while and pretend I never was anything but a woman. I could put on a dress and some makeup and go out into the world and try to convince people that there is nothing non-conforming about me, like I did for the first 26 years of my life.
But there’s a misery in this desperate refusal to let go of solid earth. As long as I am afraid to jump, I cannot escape the cliff. In some ways it can comfort me but in many others it simply holds me tied to a life that never was mine to begin with. As long as I depend on the cliff I can never leave it.
Starting T was like closing my eyes, taking a deep breath, and just letting go. I relinquished my grip on my past life as a cis woman and now I am free falling towards an uncertain future. It is equal parts terrifying and exhilarating. The relief I feel is immeasurable; my cramping fingers are finally unfreezing as at last I give up my hold on everything I have known. I am plummeting towards self-actualization, and it feels so goddamn good.