As I mumbled to the good doctor over at Dimensions “and one more thing I want that prescription please” she chuckled. She probably wasn’t laughing at me… actually maybe she was, since she said “Oh, we’re there already?” After the quizzical look I gave her she clarified, “I’m just surprised it took you this long.” Yeah, it’s been a long time coming, but we all get there when we’re ready. I wasn’t ready then, but I’m ready now.
Here it is: my shiny new prescription for Testosterone.
Indeed, this whole question around testosterone has been plaguing me for quite a while. I was surprised to find the exact musings of this past month echoed in the archives of some ancient posts I wrote a long time ago. For almost a year now, not only have I been outlining the pro’s and con’s, examining each and every possible outcome, and meticulously mulling it over and over and over and over again – I hadn’t yet come to a definitive conclusion. Nor have I, still.
And that’s the magic of hormones. They aren’t an all or nothing kind of thing, like surgery. You take a little bit, observe; take a little more; observe some more. Days, weeks, months, or even years later, if and when you’ve reached your goal, or you freak out, you simply stop. True, some effects are not reversible, but for me the big NO-NO’s are very clear, while the Yes’s and Maybe’s are fuzzier. And hormones are fuzzy.
This I discovered with the help of a friendly therapist I’ve been seeing during my break (because even though I was on a blogging break, my thoughts did not stray far from this gender business). This is my first time in therapy (that actually counts), and honestly I’ve found it quite helpful. It’s not about having a mind-blowing revelation each week; rather, it’s just comforting to hear these things from someone other than me. There’s reassurance in having my thoughts and instincts validated, in hearing that my ongoing doubts are real – but not catastrophic – and in realizing that if I truly think it through, step-by-step, I already know the answers.
Let’s go back to how long I’ve been considering testosterone. The fact that my interest hasn’t waned in so long is an indication that this is more than simple curiosity. There is something that keeps drawing me to it, something I want from it, something that I need. When I sat down to think about it, however, I came up empty. I don’t really need Testosterone, I’d say to myself. Because yeah, in a void, I don’t inherently desire anything it provides.
But we don’t live in a void, and that’s the catch. We live in society, which usually perceives me as not-male; ergo, as female. This bothers me enormously. This is exactly what I still want to change; it’s exactly that something I’m still looking for; it’s my unanswered question of “What do I want?”
For starters, I am utterly confounded as to why or how people see me as a female, since there is nothing there to indicate that I am one. But there is not much to indicate I am male either. And I’d much rather be perceived as not-female than as female. Which leads me to the only other option: being perceived as male.
Now, this is not about actually being male, or being perceived as male. It’s simply tilting the scales towards non-femaleness. In my case, approaching a sort of androgyny of this kind requires some de-feminization, which roughly translates to masculinization.
Is this a need? Is this justified? It doesn’t matter. It’s enough that I want to do it. For me, it has more and more become a need – not a physical need, but a social need.
So I’m going to take it day by day, week by week, month by month. If at any point I see the tiniest sign of something I’m not comfortable with, or my hesitation crosses a threshold, I can stop, and that’s that. If at any point I see that my body is changing, and I’m happy with the changes, or I don’t mind the changes, and I notice that people are perceiving me differently, I can keep going. When the ratio of perception shifts from 80/20 to 60/40, or to 40/60, or to 20/80 I will smile on the inside, because that is indeed what I want. And if testosterone is going to get me there (and therapy is nudging me along), so be it.