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Two Years on T

Another year has passed since I’ve been on testosterone and–wow–a lot has happened, so bear with me.

Hair

I have a stomach pelt, sideburns, chin scruff, and a shitty mustache, which I keep at 5 mm unless I’m feeling lazy. Of course I want a full beard, but these things can take time and, in fact, may not happen at all, so I’m trying to be satisfied with what I’ve got. Top surgery did a wild number on my chest hair, so it looks a bit wonky. I’m hoping it’ll even out.

I also have a receding hairline *points to photo*. Oh joy.

Voice

I still have problems projecting, inflecting, and enunciating. I doubt I even have a full octave range, but I haven’t tested it (because I still may have an octave as long as I don’t know if I don’t… if that makes sense). I have signed up for speech therapy, because what kind of author can I be if I can’t talk? But again, these things take time.

Muscles

I’ve admittedly had a hard time getting back into the swing of things since the surgeries. I will say the muscles around my shoulders have bulked up, to the point where I’ve noticed my reach getting shorter (that’s the last thing I needed, so fuck you very much, muscles). I’m still in armizare, I have marathons coming up, and I sometimes make it to the gym.

Libido

I think I’ve leveled off into something normal, and it definitely feels as if that part of my second puberty is done. Upon reflection, both puberties were equally bad in that regard but I think second puberty was just a bit more humiliating because I’m a fucking adult and should be able to control myself. Ah life.

Social

I pass nearly one hundred percent now, and the times I don’t pass are on the phone. I feel as if seventy-five percent of my passing is due to my chin scruff. The other twenty-five percent may be due to things I haven’t thought of yet. I’m still pretty adorable, but I’ve dropped many of my cutsie affectations and that could be part of that perception piece.

Since I’ve been passing, I’ve noticed some extremely troubling sexism. I’m appalled at what guys think they can say to me about women, now that they see me as part of the club. I’ve had fewer issues with customers since passing–no one has called me rude or taciturn (or kitten)–and I feel more accepted in the general populace. Comfy. (That comfy feeling doesn’t extend to locker rooms, however.)

I’ll also say this–from observation–men aren’t taught how to talk to women.

Since I’ve been perceived as male, I’ve been called:

Sir, dude, man, friend, pal, mister, and mate.

Whereas when I was perceived as a woman, I was called ma’am every once in a while. Maybe miss.

In the last year I’ve been addressed with more familiar terms by men than I have my entire life presenting as a woman.

Part of the reason is that there are fewer equalizing words people can use for women than you can use for men. You may think it’s simple politeness to not refer to women with these terms, but think about it. We’ve taught young men that women can’t be addressed the same as those they are close to, or they are equal to. We’ve distanced them from women with language. We’ve distanced women from women with language. That’s a huge problem, and only a small slice of that micro-sexism pie.

Emotional

So… yeah, transitions suck. There are exciting and new changes, but it’s crazy how quickly you adapt to those, by which I mean, it’s easy to adapt to body hair, muscles, changes in your voice and junk, because all of that is still you. You’re still you. What’s hard is adapting to everyone else as they adapt to changes in you.

It’s a good thing I’ve placed an importance on having an every day job, because I don’t know if I’d leave the house otherwise. That being said, I’ve made an effort to get involved in the local trans group, I’ve joined two new writing groups, and I’ve taken up a new sport. I’m working on being social but it’s a struggle. I feel vulnerable and I finally understand what my ex meant when she expressed a desire to enter transition as a cocoon, and then emerge as a butterfly when it was all said and done. I guess I could have used some of that magic butterfly shit.

Surgery

Oh yeah, I had surgery last year, and not just one but three. I had top surgery, a total hysterectomy, and then I developed a MRSA infection and had emergency surgery about three weeks after my first surgeries. Let me tell ya, the top surgery was a piece of cake compared to the hysterectomy and MRSA bullshit. Wow.

As far as healing goes, I still get twinges but otherwise I’m fine. My emergency surgery left my abdomen kinda lopsided, where they removed more digested tissue thanks to the flesh-eating bacteria (yummy). For my chest, both nipples have sensation and respond to stimulus, but only one makes a normal peak. The same side that has some nipple problems also has a hard time building muscle. I may have that side of my chest tattooed over, but the scars have to go from the puffy to the flat stage first.

I’m looking forward to June, when my chest will be able to see the sun for the first time in ages. It’ll be grand… for me. For everyone else, I’m sorry. You may be blinded by my whiteness.

I really like not having breasts. It’s amazing how quickly I adjusted to that. I also really like not having ovaries, a cervix, and all that stuff. Getting those removed was actually my impetus for getting everything done at once, so I’m glad the complications I had were with the hysto, because I was more sure about that surgery than the top. All in all, I’m happy with both.

As for the future, I’m in the process of getting letters for bottom surgery with Dr. Dugi next year. I’ll talk more about that when I know more.

Go boldly.

–Ben

 

Link to One Year on T

http://www.babrockbooks.com/one-year-t/

Link to Six Months on T

http://www.babrockbooks.com/six-months-on-t/

3 thoughts on “Two Years on T”

  1. Rory Ni Coileain says:

    Ben, I have what I devoutly hope is a non-intrusive question (if I’m wrong, feel free to tell me not to let the door hit me where the Lord split me) about T and your voice. I’m a singer, and I have what I’ve been told is a slightly freakish usable range (two and a half octaves, first tenor to second-almost-first soprano) and I’m interested in how the T is affecting your voice. From what little I know, I would think your whole range would just drop, rather than having the range you had prior to T get narrowed down, but obviously that’s not happening. Is there a medically recognized “normal” (heavy on the air quotes) vocal reaction to T? Or is it strictly a case of YMMV? (I remember reading an article years ago opining that T didn’t have as much effect on the voice as social norms did, or at least worked in combination with social norms — they pointed to south and southeast Asia, and especially to India, as a culture in which there wasn’t a cultural expectation that men’s voices would change dramatically at puberty, and in which men’s voices tend to be higher overall…)

    1. B. A. Brock
      B. A. Brock says:

      Rory,
      Your vocal range sounds impressive! I’m envious.
      When I started T, I thought I’d experience what my boy friends experienced during puberty: the upper ranges cracking and then the lower ranges coming in.
      But that’s not what happened.
      What I experienced was my upper ranges fuzzing and then cracking out, but I wasn’t developing the lower ranges to make up for it. So–I suspect–I lost range overall.
      I used to speak publicly and I was decent at projection, inflection (women naturally inflect more), and enunciation (even if I did talk a bit fast), but now I find I can barely be heard clearly. I have to repeat myself constantly. I get tired easier. It’s very frustrating.
      I’m thinking I’m doing some of this to myself, by not really understanding how to talk with my ‘new’ voice. Like I said, I’m going to go to voice therapy when they open the class, so I will also be able to tell you more about what’s normal or not later.

  2. B. A. Brock
    B. A. Brock says:

    I guess I should also mention I’ve been using the men’s restroom, I’ve had all my documents except my birth certificate changed, and there are some people in my world who don’t know I’m trans… but it’s not like I hide it. I simply don’t wear it all the time on my sleeve. All of that’s been happening since July of 2016.

    I have a blog post or two about my dick somewhere, but I’m too lazy to go hunt it down. Check my ‘blog posts’ category, or my ‘trans’ tag for more information.

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