Happy Birthday to meee, happy birthday tooo meee!!! Well, if the Queen can have two birthdays, so can I. Today is the Ides of March (as in “Bewaaaarrrre the…” for the classicists amongst you) and it was this time last year that I first slapped on a handful of testosterone gel.

Those of you who’ve been following this blog for the full year may recall that my period started the same day, hung around for a few days, then NEVER CAME BACK! So that’s definitely also something to celebrate. Yeah, f*ck you, Madame Oestrogen…I won!

So what has testosterone done for me lately? I am happier, more relaxed, more in control, more confident, feel sexier, want to smile far more often for no good reason, am more logical, more able to cope with stress….and many more. And for anybody who says these are down to some sort of placebo effect…it doesn’t matter. All I know is that despite a year that has been challenging, heart-breaking in some areas and full to the brim with new experiences, I have come out feeling better than I have ever felt before. That’s not an exaggeration, just the plain truth.

And the other stuff? Well, I’m more muscular, my bum is smaller, my hips and thighs are trimmer, my tummy is podgier. I have hair growing in all sorts of untoward places. Instead of the manly stubble I anticipated, I sport a fuzzy halo of babyhair on the lower half of my face. I’m sexy and I know it…

My neck has broadened, along with my jaw, my face looks…well, different. My shoulders are broader, my hair line is changing, but not receding, despite having lost lots of hair over the year from my whole head.

I routinely use gents’ toilets and changing rooms, where I’m learning just to ‘do my thing’ and not worry about other men, because they Won’t Be Looking. I get called ‘Sir’ about as often as I get called ‘Madam’ and I’m trying my best not to mind when people slip up. I get called ‘Sirmadam’ a lot, as well as ‘Sirmadamsirohsorry’. Strangers frequently call me ‘mate’ and the men who call me ‘darling’ are either trying to chat me up, or have the grace to look a bit bashful when they look at me more closely.

Am I selling this stuff to you yet? Testosterone has saved me from the life I had before, in a way that I never thought it would. After all, you cannot expect a hormone to make your life better, or solve problems that were already issues in your life. But…I am now able to see just how many problems in my life were due to the chronic difference between my body, how I related to it, and how other people treated me whilst I was inhabiting that body, and my mind and heart. Life is not perfect, nor do I expect it to be. My problems have not suddenly evaporated, but believe me, my life is a hell of a lot better than it was.

And that is why today, to celebrate my 1st birthday as ME, I got a new tattoo – four stars on my arm. Why? Because the best analogy I have ever found for what testosterone has meant for me is this: Imagine you were a car, and ran on unleaded fuel your whole life, not knowing there was anything else out there, feeling that something was missing. Then someone filled up your tank with Four Star…