Category: April


Today’s blog may be a little less focused than usual – there’s not much to report in my little world at the moment, which rather suits me: I don’t like too much drama!

Willemina reports that I seem to be becoming a calmer person all round. That’s lovely news as, if the truth be known, I really don’t feel very calm inside. I feel like I have permanent PMT at the moment – not the nicest of feelings, so it’s good to know that from the outside at least I’m looking serene!

I am hoping the general PMT feeling will wear off after a while. One thing I am pleased to report is that the period that was due last month has failed to materialise. It is currently running on 18 days late, which I am devoutly hoping means it won’t appear at all. That said, now I’ve actually typed out and published that last statement, Madame Oestrogen is bound to jump in and interfere! But seriously, really, really keep your fingers crossed for me that I am one of the lucky few who finally rids themselves of menstruation early on in the transition process. Statistically, it can take anything between one month and a year, and I’d dearly love to be at the early end of that.

Following on from last week’s complaints about hunger, I think I have found a temporary solution of sorts…I am eating four meals a day. I’m slotting another meal in as soon as I come in from work (3.30-ish on my current shift pattern), which then stops the need to snack like a monster til dinnertime. So far so good. I feel a little more in control.

I am really looking forward to going back to the gym in June. Financial circumstances meant that we had to freeze our gym memberships for a while, but that’ll soon be finished and I can get back to the weights. I do have exercise equipment at home, but I’m a lazy f*cker, with little motivation, so that’s not been a brilliant alternative. I do like the gym, and I’m looking forward to giving my burgeoning new muscles a proper workout.

Just a little smiley note to finish – I went to a wedding last weekend. It’s the first time I’ve been ‘out’ to a big formal social occasion since living full-time as Mark. It went really well. I looked good (modest, me!) and I was treated as one of the lads. Thank you lads – I’m not sure if you realise what a difference it makes.

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Testosterone is well known for causing water retention, and boy, am I retaining water. I look down at what used to be delicate, well-honed ankles and…well, you can see from the picture how things are now. The Cankle Pixies have been at work, and swapped my lower legs with someone else’s. Somewhere out there, there is a fulsome, frumpy matriarch standing in Iceland, wondering how come she’s suddenly got svelte well-turned ankles instead of her old cushiony ones.

As well as my ankles, my face is showing signs of Hamster Bloat. I may never see my cheekbones again. I’m doing all that I should to prevent the Curse of the Cankle – Dandelion Tincture is my middle name, and if I drink any more water, I’ll need a commode permanently installed in every room. Bah bloody humbug.

Another threat to the visibility of my bone structure is The Hunger. I was warned. I nodded sagely, and privately thought that I would be fine, and would snack on a little dried fruit if peckish. But really, peckish doesn’t quite cover it. I am ravenous. I eat and eat and eat, until I couldn’t possibly eat more. Then I fit in a bit more. Poor Will keeps trying to steer me away from the fridge and handing me a banana. Sometimes it works, but more often the banana is just added to the list of food disappearing into the ever-open maw. And really I don’t want banana, I want cake. And biscuits. And nuts. And cereal. And porridge. And jam. Crisps. Crackers. Noodles. Marmite. Spaghetti. You get the picture. Thank goodness we don’t keep bread in the house or I’d be like one of those sad cases where the fire-brigade have to remove a window to winch me into a specially strengthened ambulance whilst the good people of Norwich look on in wondered disgust. I have become the Carb King, flirting too with anything with concentrated sugar or salt.

Don’t get me wrong. As a vegan I am still packing away a ton of fruit and veg, and I get plenty of protein and all the nutritional bits and pieces I need, but my love affair with the larder is getting a bit scary. I really don’t want to end up a fatty. I lost a stone before starting hormone therapy, trying to get into optimum health before putting my body through all these changes. So far I have put about 4 pounds back on. I know that’s not a lot, but unless I find a way to curb The Hunger, it’ll all go back on and more. As much as I’d like to think it’s all muscle, that’d be wishful thinking.

So with my body awash with retained fluid and an appetite to rival Elvis in his Deep-Fried Everything days, I need to sit down and do some serious thinking about my eating habits. Or buy a padlock for both the larder and the fridge.

I’ve been reading back over the last couple of weeks’ entries, and they do seem rather gloomy! It’s true that I’ve been struggling with some knotty issues, and that’s likely to continue, but transitioning is definitely affecting me in a good way overall.

I have more confidence. I hold my head up high. My anxiety levels have plummeted. I am smilier. I feel like a better partner (you’d better check that one with Will!)

Those of you who know me in the flesh (no, not THAT way), will know that I am NOT a morning person. It takes a SAD light, a large mug of coffee and three alarm clocks to get me going. And Will still has to shout/cajole me to leave for work on time. Since starting with the Testosterone, mornings are easier. This could be down to a lot of things: more sunlight – it is Spring, after all (hurrah!); a new job, that I actually want to go to; excitement at the prospect of putting on the T gel – I do this first thing, and it’s already become a bit of a ritual. I also just seem to have much more energy and general va-va-voom. Whatever’s causing it, it makes me happy!

Another thing that made me happy this week was being asked to carry some heavy boxes at work. I have honestly never been asked to carry stuff before – I have always been lumped in with the ‘girls’, and carrying stuff was left to the manly men. Now I’m sure you can argue that being asked to carry stuff is hardly a victory, and really only reinforces sexist stereotypes, but it made ME happy to be amongst the little party of testosterone-fuelled macho-men striding off to hunt bison carry the stationery order upstairs. Little things 🙂

My final piece of happy news (see, I CAN do an angst-free blog!) is that during one of our regular sessions, my lovelycounsellor suggested that we start investigating the prospect of organising a mastectomy. That probably sounds like a really weird thing to get happy about, but it’s tremendous. It won’t happen for a while, but to start the process is fantastic. I’ll save my feelings about my Evil Twins for a future post (it’s just too sunny a day for another bout of dysphoria) but let’s just say I left my counselling session with a huge smile.

*sings*

“Transition…It makes me happy,
Transition…it feels fine…” la la la!

My new video is up on YouTube – just follow the link on the right to hear my new gravelly voice!

I have spent the week commuting up and down to London. Four hours a day sat on a train has given me a lot of thinking time, and the opportunity to observe all sorts of people going about their daily business. As a new entrant into the shirt-and-tie club, I enjoy looking at other men, and seeing how they are dressed, and what I can emulate. Unfortunately, this observation usually results in feelings of inadequacy and jealousy.

There is no doubt in my mind that I am male, that I have every right to walk tall with the men I meet, and that my masculinity is just as potent as theirs. But they seem to have it so EASY. I watch other men, bio-men, lounging in their suits, complacent in their masculinity, thoughtlessly easy in their movements.

I am envious of bio-men’s smooth chests, unfettered by layers of greying nylon, lungs free of the choking constriction that binding brings. I am envious of the testosterone that is born within, not applied from a sachet. I am envious of their physical strength, and presence – that ‘maleness’ that is exuded by just about every bio-man I have ever met, and which no-one seems to have been able to bottle. I am envious of their social treatment – the assumptions that are made of men, but not yet of me.

Perhaps most of all I am envious of their ability to connect with other men on a level that I simply cannot manage, mainly due to their embarrassment at my perceived gender status. Despite my name and the way I dress, other men still do not look at me and see a man. I have 39 years of conditioning as a woman behind me, influencing the way I move, respond and react, which,  coupled with my still-so-feminine looks, means that I have to work hard to take up my place with the boys.

I know my time will come. I know that bio-men too have their inadequacies and struggles. But envy is rarely logical.

It’s Mother’s Day! Cue a long sweaty afternoon muscling through crowds of shoppers, trying to find a card amongst all the overpriced pink saccharin that isn’t a) vomit-inducing, b) disrespectful and demeaning or c) just plain rude. The flower stall on the market was transformed into a rugby scrum – no bunch too pricey! At least three shop assistants tried to sell me seashell-shaped confectionery at the till: what is it with the current trend for till-side selling, when all I want to do is pay and get the hell out, not ponder over cut-priced novelty chocolates?

Sorry. I really don’t like shopping, let alone at such an emotionally charged time of the year. We all know that Mother’s Day is just another opportunity for the retail machine to grind into action and make more money, but my little heart still goes a-flutter at the thought of a special day celebrating my role as a mother. I still have the cards my daughter made for me at nursery school, and even though she was trawling round the shops with me today looking most un-childlike in her mini-skirt, swinging a designer tote, I still like that she is buying me something special.

Some time ago, she asked me “Do you still want something on Mother’s Day? Or should I do Father’s Day stuff for you instead?” Though I laughed and told her to stick to Mother’s Day, I was mortified. The sensible part of me may know that I will never lose the specialness of being a mother, but the terribly scared part worries that as I transition, the core meaning of being a mother will be lost behind the perceived ridiculousness of a man being called Mum. The way the outside world sees me and perceives me is changing, and it is very hard to cement my role as a mother whilst also trying to define myself as a man.

My daughter has already given me my card – I haven’t opened it yet as Mother’s Day doesn’t start for another hour. The envelope is addressed to Mark. Both of us are clearly working hard to make the most of our redefined relationship. I hope that whatever craziness is yet to come in our lives, we will hold on to the silver thread that connects mother and daughter.