The Break Up
Back in early June, I was giving up on T for good – or at least, “indefinitely” – because it wasn’t working out. The day-to-day mental torture was unnecessary; it was ultimately not worth it. And if I was ever going back on T, it had to be on different terms: I had to want something different.
But therein lies the catch. You can’t convince yourself to want something. You have to really, truly want it. Otherwise you’re just wanting to want it, a game of pretending where you’re only fooling yourself, or trying to and failing at it. For the desire to come from within it must be genuine.
This was not the case for me when I started T, but it is certainly true now. It’s hard to explain exactly what it felt like, or perhaps even what enabled it, but there was a distinct internal shift which completely changed my take on hormones.
First, I had to completely accept all the changes that would come; the good AND the bad. I’m not talking about being ok with them, or tolerating them, or even growing accustomed to them – I mean completely at peace with whatever testosterone would do to my body.
Next, I had to clarify what I wanted out of T. In my previous Testosterone updates, I continually mention an internal conflict over the “bad” changes counteracted by this inexplicable pull that mysteriously kept me going forward. But to truly keep going forward and keep my sanity, I needed to clearly understand what I was looking for exactly. An “inexplicable pull” was no longer going to cut it.
This is where I realized that I needed to reframe my concept of self: to align what my future self would turn into with what my present self truly wanted.
Even though I don’t consider myself a trans man, taking testosterone would definitely bring me closer to that. Therefore, I had to be comfortable seeing myself as such, or at least be comfortable with the possibility of what I could become. An art professor once told me that to progress, you have to go way outside of your comfort zone, so that when you naturally move back you’ll be a step forward than where you were before. While I don’t see myself as male, I had to see myself as something completely masculine in order to embrace the masculine side that exists in me.
How did I do this, exactly? Browsing pictures of transguys. Intrigued by the changes on T, I slowly began to notice that over the course of a year, their faces went from ambiguously girly-boy to something distinctly masculine. That’s what I wanted to achieve: this unmistakeable “shift” in gender (cue lightbulb).
Ideally, I want people to perceive me ambiguously. I want people to be confused about my gender, to stop and hesitate, to question themselves. Ideally people would see me as just me. But ultimately, when they (or I) have to make a choice, I’ve made my preference clear. My gender may be neither, but when it comes to the binary, I am uambiguously and distinctly repelled by one side. I just had to finish embracing the other.
I found my motivation behind T: to tilt the scales, completely. I’ll still be the same me, both inside and out, but people will see me differently, treat me differently – closer to what I feel comfortable as.
Coming to terms with the rest of the stuff? That came on its own, though having a clear reason behind my actions lifted much of the unecessary anxiety. It’s not that I’m thrilled about my stomach getting fuzzier every day, or the possibility of chest hair, or my increasing smelliness, but it no longer spirals me into a crisis. It has become a non-issue, faded into the background. It’s something I don’t get upset over, but simply notice and acknowledge, along with the rest of the changes. Some of which have been quite welcome!