Day 175: Update At Last

Well, it sure has been a long time folks. I’m really sorry that I haven’t been providing the amount of documentation I was hoping to originally; life, uh, uh, uh, finds a way… to really screw with me sometimes, haha.

Anyway, I’m going to make a big catch-up post here to fill everyone in on where I’m at now, just over 4 months into my journey on HRT. Hopefully I’ll be able to fill in some of the gaps in future posts as well, with pictures and stories from the months between my last post and this one. Luckily there isn’t a TON that you have missed – changes continue on but they’re pretty subtle, and mostly in line with what I was already seeing/expecting. I think they’re a lot more apparent to me than they are to anyone else, but I don’t mind that at all. After all, I’m doing this for me, not anyone else. 🙂

Pre-T — 1.5 Months — 4 Months

Quick recap for anyone who may be beginning with this post: I am transmasc non-binary and taking a low dose of testosterone combined with finasteride (a DHT blocker) to achieve a non-binary transition. The finasteride is there to prevent major hair changes, mainly facial hair, and bottom growth (AKA clitoral enlargement).

I began my HRT journey with one pump a day of T gel, but around month 2.5 I upped that to two pumps a day. That seemed to speed some changes up a bit, and just within the last week I actually went back down to one pump (reasoning explained in a moment). I’m currently feeling great with what I’ve got and the pace that everything is going at.

So far, the biggest changes I have noticed (outside of my mood) have been in my skin and face, though there has definitely also been some noticeable body recomposition/fat redistribution and a slight voice drop.

Here’s me as I am today from a few different angles. Disclaimer: I am wearing a binder and pretty flattering (AKA curve-disguising) clothing in these pics, and I’ve filled in my brows a bit (see more on that later in the post). Basically, this is what I generally look like when I go out in public.

Regarding the skin: I’m much oilier than I have ever been, well beyond anything seen in my first puberty. My skin feels rougher, thicker, and greasier than it did before, and I’ve got a noticeable (to me at least) shine on my face now. I sweat way more than I ever have, which honestly I find a little gross but not intolerable.

The acne is WILD, which is part of why I reduced my dose back to one pump a day after I had seen some more significant changes. My face is breaking out a lot, but that does not bother me nearly as much as the bacne. I know that I really don’t have it all that bad compared to a lot of people, even my face is honestly relatively not awful, but I’m kind of fussy about looking/feeling “clean” so this has just been a bit of a bug up my butt. The spots on my back are small and they’re not painful or uncomfortable, but they make me feel self-conscious, as someone who has always prided themselves on having very soft, clear skin.

I think that there are probably a lot of people who would not be as put off by pimples as I am, but being non-binary is really weird sometimes – there can be such a fine line between euphoria and dysphoria, and it’s sort of zig-zaggy and unpredictable. You never know when and where you’re going to cross from being happy to being uncomfortable with changes in your body, and that’s why I personally am a big fan of microdosing. It’s been so easy for me to just ease off a little the moment I was starting to feel like it was a bit too much. Going back down to one pump seems to have made my skin a bit less angry, and over all I feel really good at this dose now.

**To clarify, I felt good on two pumps for quite a while – it was what felt right at the time and I don’t regret it even a tiny bit. It sped up the process a little, which was much needed as I went through a pretty rough dysphoric patch. Changing your mind about something does not always mean you made a mistake!

Here’s my completely bald face, no makeup of any kind. I tried to gel my hair up a little so you could see my eyebrows more, and the results are clearly hilarious (I desperately need a haircut).

A much bigger reason why I felt that two pumps was too much for me was really more of the psychological impact. I don’t mean to say that I feel like that dose caused any actual psychological problems, more that it just didn’t feel super congruent with my personal identity. When I had more testosterone in my body, it made my body just feel more masculine to me – not because of anything physical I was seeing but just because of the internal experience of being a person with a lot of T in their system. I’m positive that it would have felt awesome for some people, and it did feel pretty awesome for me for a bit! But after a little while, I sort of felt like I was starting to lean too heavily into the opposite binary, which just isn’t what I’m after. While internally I identify as more “boy” than “girl”, I’m simply not a binary trans guy. I was starting to feel very much like I was becoming a man, and while I think it was a necessary part of my journey of self-discovery, it didn’t really feel much better than becoming a woman.

On one pump a day I feel a lot more balanced, a lot more in-between, which is what feels comfiest to me. I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but I think it’s important to pay attention to how you’re feeling about this kind of stuff if you want to take HRT. If you’re a non-binary person, you kind of just have to stay cued in to yourself and not feel too pressured to transition in the same way that a binary trans person would. This is such an intensely personal journey, it’s not up to anyone else to decide what’s going to make you feel the best about yourself. You get to pick that, which is both a bit intimidating and amazingly liberating at the same time.

Anyway, I digress. Further physical changes have included some facial masculinization – my face is less fleshy and round now, and my eyes don’t look as big and prominent (unless of course I do my makeup to change that, haha). I’ve also started using black Jamaican castor oil on my eyebrows, which has helped them grow in thicker than before (since the finasteride is mostly blocking the effects of T there as well). I also am not ashamed to fill them in a bit generously with my makeup when I want to look a little more masculine – I know a lot of people who hand out free advice for “passing” will tell you to never do this, but frankly it makes me feel great about how I look. You’ve probably noticed that in a lot of the pics here I’ve added a bit of filler to my brows, so I’ll leave it up to you to decide how you feel about the effect yourself (the face pics above do not contain any brow makeup, the pics directly below do).

My mean old mug again with the eyebrows filled in a bit. Otherwise no masculinizing makeup tricks used.

I’ve definitely got a lot more natural, passive muscle than I used to. I’ve lost a bit of weight (I think, I’m not sure since I don’t own a scale anymore) and so the difference has become a little more noticeable to me. My thighs are a lot slimmer (comparatively speaking to how I would usually carry my weight in the past) while my arms are still more defined and muscular despite the fact that I haven’t been working out. Over all, I think it gives me a lot more balance between upper/lower body, reducing my more feminine characteristics while not screaming “MAN”.

Straight flexing.

My voice is sort of hard to pin down. I’ve been using that free voice pitch tracker app, and honestly it’s all over the place. I almost always land in the “androgynous” range, but it definitely varies. I think a lot of it depends on the day and just my mood and how I naturally inflect. On days when I’m feeling more flat and monotone I seem to throw people off a bit, but the majority of the time when I answer the phone I seem to be assumed female. I will say though that just in the last week or two my voice has been particularly scratchy and cracking a lot, so I think I may be going through a bit of a drop at the moment. We’ll see where that ends up taking me, but for now I’m really enjoying my range. For the first time in maybe forever, I honestly really enjoy hearing my own voice when I speak.

Here’s a quick video voice update, if you’d like to hear what I sound like now.

This has ended up being a pretty lengthy post, so I think I’ll leave it there for now. As always, you’re welcome to drop into the comments or even send me an email if you have any questions. Stay safe out there, and don’t forget to keep finding joy in your identity. ❤

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