Lately I’ve been musing about the stage of post-transition, wondering if I’m there yet and what it all means. Probably cause I’ve been at it for so long, but more likely cause there’s a side of me that feels complete.
Then there’s the transitioning that happens after you transition. Whether it’s the ongoing reservations about disclosure, changing yet another legal document, or just bumping into an old friend, it really is never-ending.
Today and Tomorrow and 401Ks
People are in constant flux. We age, we grow, we buy clothes, we change jobs, we move houses, we make families – you never really know what lies ahead. Time is tricky, because that moment that was now is already gone.
As I envision the person I’ll become in 5, 10, 25, or even 45 years, I’m certain everything about me will change, including my gender – how I feel about it, how I look, how others see me. Being trans is a lifelong condition, just another part of being human.
I think I’ve figured out where I want my gender to be in 5, 10, or 25 years. I’m content to move towards that with a purposeful slowness, while taking my time to enjoy the present. I live in a dual reality, except one is on hold and in the distance, even though I’m already working towards it today. Like a 401K.
And as with everything else in life, you can plan as much as you want, that doesn’t mean it will come true.
Hormones Are Like Molasses: Sweet, Slow, and Sticky
I’ve lost track actually of how many times I’ve been on and off testosterone. Four? Five? Every time is the last time – definitively, I say, tentatively – until it’s not.
Taking hormones is a slow process. A few dozen shots of testosterone or a few hundred estrogen pills (whatever the case may be), and you look and feel very different than what you did a few months ago. But much like the young wrinkles around my eyes, it’s not something you can measure on a day-to-day basis.
I’ve learned to accept these fluctuations. The choice I make at that particular moment in time is the right choice for me at that particular moment. Nothings stays the same – the present alters the course of the future – and what happens today might inform a new decision later on.
Post Childhood, or How Old is Too Old To Be A Kid
I feel a close affinity to older trans men. And by “older” I mean significantly older in age, not in transition years, and by “significantly” I mean twice my age. (Don’t worry, we’re all young at heart.) This closeness is absent with my similarly aged peers – trans men in the prime of their 20’s and 30’s. This is because I simply don’t feel like a man, or a guy. And as much as I’d like to say I’m a boy, I’m 27 and know too much for that to be so.
I know I’m aging, slowly but surely, and as reluctant as I am to relinquish the title, at some point I won’t look half my age anymore. Older me is not a manish woman, which is what I’ll look like eventually if I don’t do something to alter my body’s natural course.
Older me will be a spouse, hopefully a parent, perhaps even a dad; still a child, a loyal friend, and enjoying whatever-my-job-is that day. Older me will perhaps be an adult… someday. And older me might turn into a man, even though I’m not one today.
I guess I see myself, my future self, in them – these men who once tried very hard to be women, or at least pretended to try, the battle secretly written on their faces. Part admiration, part identification.
I’m on the other side now, just trying to live my life. It’s been a successful endeavour so far. I’m no longer rushing to find that next step in my transition. I’m just living.
Life Goes On and On and On
So I’m taking testosterone now.
With a low dose, its visible effects are even shyer than usual to appear. I’m in a long term relationship with this hormone. I foresee it being an integral part of my aging body for decades to come.
Maybe I’ll take testosterone for a few months, feel like it’s been enough, and quit. Maybe I’ll take it up again a few months, or years, later.
Then again, maybe I won’t.
14 thoughts on “Post Transition”
I have similar feelings about age in relation to my gender identity–I like the idea of being a boy but am uncomfortable with the idea of being a man. I’m conflicted about this–it makes my masculinity feel less legitimate, however problematic that is, and it also makes me feel like I haven’t fully accepted the fact that I’m a fully grown person. I see this going on a lot–a conflation of genderqueerness with a certain idea of youth, and I’m curious about what it means.
Age has always been an… issue… for me. Since I was a toddler I’ve always “passed” for much younger. I could never envision myself as an adult, and still don’t consider myself an adult. My partner feels the same way (she is cis), so it’s not exclusively related to gender, though it does have a lot to do with it.
Very insightful and personal post, and I enjoyed it immensely. I was especially intrigued by you saying that you “feel a close affinity to older trans men” but that “this closeness is absent with my similarly aged peers.” Have you always been more comfortable with those older than you?
I’ve always been more comfortable with older people, but had never identified with them. Also I had yet to meet older trans men, I’ve since gotten to know a few at a personal level and I feel we both learn a lot from each other.
That makes sense. It’s like what my girlfriend calls being “an old soul”, where you just relate better to those older than you. I’m what I like to call “a newborn soul”, where I’m just completely clueless about everything and it’s as though I’m learning everything for the first time.
This is such a beautiful, rich, gentle post. Thank you for sharing your present reality and your vision for the future. And thank you for your gracious and grace-filled identification with older trans men and their struggles – those guys are glad you are coming along behind them, for sure.
Wow! This is the exact thing that I have been thinking about lately. It is really a worry. I mean I am getting older and I am not as cute as I used to be in some ways, in some ways I am a lot cuter! But I worry what aging will be like as I keep exploring this whole trans landscape. Transcape. That might be a good word. But all I can say for sure is that you are a beautiful person and I am sure you will find the things in life that you are looking for and hoping for! I wish you the best of luck on your journey!
It really seems as though you have an almost complete handle on things. I don’t know your story, I am new. And I don’t want to offend you with questions, or statements, of where I am at with my current, ever changing, positions. Although I guess I can’t not. Since I am me. And I’m writing.
It seems blatant to me that there is no gender duality; there never was. Though the difference between male and female is not entirely arbitrary either (although it nearly is).
I am not sure. I suppose I believe there is no gender but for a basic and expansive medical spectrum. People can choose what they wish for the rest. Trust their feelings. They can get any surgery, take any hormones (if they trust doctors that much); and every choice seems like a fine choice. To say otherwise would be to argue that people see no benefit in any cosmetic surgery, or any drug therapy, like antidepressants. This seems patently not so.
But you seem different to others I know. Willing to accept something towards maleness now, but acknowledging you may not later. This also acknowledges, implicitly, that your feeling ‘complete’ is transient as well: an expensive and draining, but likely true, position to reach. We tolerate and habituate to everything.
It does not appear to be identity for identity’s sake I guess I mean, not a search for an in-group; more honest exploration. I haven’t read your section on pronouns yet (and since this isn’t my blog here) I’ll try and round it up.
You are very attractive as a boy, which I suppose goes to my programming. The androgen receptor concentration in the upper body make a stark difference I think. But I do not really know enough about the dynamics and specificity of the procedures to grasp it all adequately.
For example; would not something as systemically powerful as hormone replacement be causal in maleness identity, as far as that is biologically determined – ie the longer in treatment, the more likely maleness will feel “right”. Social pressures to pick a team, as it were, aside.
And does this matter? Surely not. Only maintaining hedonic tone matters. Completeness, as much as possible for as long as possible; with some anticipation of likely probable futures from this moment. Yet, testosterone has antidepressant effects as well. This will further slant conditioning. Hormones are tricky.
But everything is tricky.
Wanting to be something one has never felt, but has heard about, seen and imagined; this has always been a tough philosophical leap for me. Especially once surgery and hormones get involved; but I am quite critical of science on the whole, on a lot of topics. And this bleeds across a little bit here I think.
We make the best choices we can in the moments we have, and whatever anyone does to assist in feeling well is as good a path as any. Especially if it harms none.
I’m sorry, this is long and not a question yet is it.
i think out loud (with my typing fingers) a lot. It helps me figure things out. For a while. Fields are diverse, and ever changing: this is such a fundamental ontological problem. In a constructed world, the epistemic nature of the “selfness phenomenology” can only be deferred to the operator. But this loops back to the first question; how does one say that “that, over there” is the phenomenology they require when they, by definition, have not experienced that self phenomenon? Unless one accepts a an ontologic certainty, like the binary, in addition to a belief that the doctors can, not only correctly identify the constituent parts of it; but manipulate them to effect as well.
It seems all but impossible. So then the answer lies existential and hedonic; if one thinks any path may work, and they have access to it: they are duty bound to try it.
This position, then, can not look favourably on the irreversible procedures. Especially where the young are concerned. Because they do not bring what some seem to think they promise. Indeed, almost certainly, they can not deliver on such a promise.
Unless there is a man or woman secure in identity immune from suffering. It may relieve one burden, yes, and perhaps temporarily, as you point out. Self honesty alone marks this.
Also what is young? Why this path first; and a million other “what if’s”.
I probably haven’t explained myself well. I am sorry again for the length.
I want to ask questions, because of your lucidity. But I don’t know what they are. And I have typed for far too long, as usual. ❤
I thought same way, I would say I am no onger accepting label GIRL, NEVER said I was “woman” ew, and now said I am a boy…until I put on T. Right after I got it, I went into the mens stall in the clinic and put it on, and went outside and said today I am a man. Sometimes it does feel like a loss…I empathize with Peter Pan. But then I think I am not a child anymore, and I can be a great man, I can defend those who are abused and bullied, I can fight for rights for the oppressed, I can protect women who are being used by guys who claim to be “men” and are NOT, and I can be a good role model and maybe a daddy to little boys who deserve to see an adult man who shows respect and love to everybody. That is what my grandfather instilled in me, so I think it is time now to grieve the losses of my long childishness and put it away to only pick back up when I play with my own children one day, God willing.