On Halloween it’s been 5 years since I started hormone replacement therapy. Five years since that much expected shot I pictured as a liquid gold working its magic through my body, making me manly, making me… well, me. And it has been everything I wished for and more, and at the same time so different. There was once a time when I panicked at the idea that I was not in control. Ever. And now it has become my release. My expectations tangled with the unpredictable and I came out on the other side. Not unscarred, but mostly happy.
“There’s so much I would tell my pre-T self..”
There’s so much I would tell my pre-T self, that eager and terrified creature I once was, that magnificent, brave weirdo. I’d give him such a long bear hug. God knows he needed it.
There is not only one way of being a man
You may feel tempted to embrace certain stereotypes on the race to masculinity. Just don’t. They don’t ring true. How can you hate that awkward girl cruising through years of confusion so that you can be here? Reach out your hand; help her climb into this rollercoaster of a transition. She’s part of you, a part that makes you a stronger man. Your potential is in your process, in your unique stand on the world and gender. Bend the spoon. Dare to be your own kind of guy.
Don’t hold on to someone just because they accept you
Sometimes they accept you but they don’t love you. Sometimes they do, but it just doesn’t feel right. Don’t tell yourself no one will want you if they don’t. You will be loved again. Sometimes you will love back. Love yourself first. You are free. No, there, don’t panic. Freedom is scary but it’s also wonderful. Practice being alone, it is a gift.
You will survive
At a time, everything you believe in may fall apart like a house of cards. It is that fragile because it isn’t real. It is OK to outgrow mirages, even when it hurts like hell. Don’t dwell on rage; hatred isn’t in your nature. Don’t let the pain overstay her welcome. Go out. Live. There is magic out there. You will find it; you are an explorer, even if you have forgotten.
The truth will set you free
I know your stress soars whenever you have to come out to someone. You will have to come out to many people, so you’d better cowboy up. Because every time you do it, you become more of yourself. Every time a new person calls you by your chosen name or a friend refrains from misgendering you even when you still don’t quite pass, something shines inside you in places where it used to be dark. There are so many horrible scenarios running wild in your mind as you slowly open the closet door. None of them have come true, at least so far. Most people will not really understand but try hard to be supportive. And it will feel good even if they sometimes make mistakes or ask uncomfortable questions. Don’t be angry, they are just trying to make sense of a concept that had never before been necessary in their lives. Most mean well. And believe me, you are tough enough to deal with anyone who doesn’t. No, not Vin Diesel tough, fortunately you find out soon enough that violence is never the way. But there is something else inside you, peaceful yet harder than steel. You will be fine. And speaking will make it easier.
Take by stealth or take by storm
The misgendering won’t last forever. It won’t even last more than a couple of months. You will pass soon, and though you will look like a teenager for a while and definitely feel like one, you will be perceived as male by others. It might make you forget the need to say that you were once otherwise. It is your choice, always, but the truth will really set you free. You may still go stealth if you have the need or the dread. However, it is telling your story what will get you farther. Don’t be so afraid of leaving your mark. It’s a beautiful one.