10 Weeks On Testosterone - HRT Update
Wow, the past two weeks have flown by and they have been full of changes... both physically and in my life. The last update I did was at my 2 months on T mark. I'm now at 10 full weeks on hormone replacement therapy and these were the 2 weeks full of the most changes. I will overview the physical changes below and also go into some transition progress updates.
Beyond changes due to HRT, my life has been shifting and changing a lot. Currently, I'm still living alone and maintaining everything in my life almost solely by myself. It's a lot on one person... household upkeep, taking care of 4 animals, keeping the fridge full, running my business, weight training at full blast 5 times a week, eating almost 100% of my meals made from scratch, keeping my finances in order, making sure anxiety and depression are in check, continuing to do self development work, and oh ya... transitioning and all the things that come with that.
I'm starting to realize that I'm swirling in a giant brewing storm of busyness. I know why I'm doing it... it's to cope with anxiety. Historically, if I start to feel anxious I tend to make myself as busy as possible because the thought of not being productive seems like a waste of time. It's almost as if I start to feel a little mental chaos, then I make a bunch of chaotic time crunches around me to fit with how I'm mentally feeling. I'm catching this very early on though and aware of it. That's a new mental switch, to be able to identify the pattern and intervene. Currently, I'm in the process of figuring out how to clam down a little about everything swirling around me and make it a more manageable amount for one person. It's not easy, I'm a control freak and like to have my hands in everything, but it is necessary for my long term success. I'll swing back to this again towards the end... but, onto the changes!
Big changes came in weeks 9 and 10. I'm so grateful to be seeing some of the changes that I've been experiencing. It has been a humbling growing experience and made me open to whatever is yet to come.
I wasn't expecting it this early, but I'm really excited to say that my voice is dropping. It's changing in pitch and tone. At first I thought I was just noticing it because I hear it differently internally, but after looking back at a 1 month update video I did, I realized that it has changed quite a bit. As I've mentioned before, my voice is a huge hang up area for me. I often open my mouth to talk and feel big waves of anxiety course through my stomach which I have to just ignore in order to actually speak. This happens way more than I like to admit and I've gotten so used to it that it is just part of my daily life. Now that my voice is getting more throaty and deep, I feel hope that I may actually experience the end of dysphoria around my voice.
Dysphoria can be hard to explain and I think that it is best explained on a very specific basis. The dysphoria that I have around my voice is completely different than what I experience with my chest. When my voice dysphoria comes up it sets in motion a flight or fight response for me. Most of the time when it kicks in, I want to immediately abandon a conversation but I usually force myself to just ignore it. It feels like a heatwave over me... I start to sweat and can feel the panic of wanting to escape the situation. I used to think that it was social anxiety (and maybe there is a little of that in there too) but once I identified it as gender dysphoria, it was much easier to cope with how I was feeling and calm myself down.
The key to me figuring out that anxiety around my voice was actually gender dysphoria happened when I started to hone in on feelings of age disconnect when I would speak. I've talked about "chasing anxiety" before, which is a process of feeling anxiety and then tracing it to the source by staying in a meditative state around the feelings coming up. When I did this practice regarding my voice, I realized that when I spoke I felt like a child... very young in fact, somewhere between 8-10 years old. It's a very confusing feeling to have. I would be in a business meeting, talking to the board of a company and pitching a sale to them... the whole time pushing down the anxiety of feeling like I was an 8 year old child in front of them. After doing more thought on this, I came to accept that it was because I'd never gone through the puberty that I was suppose to go through. My voice was stuck in a time long ago, a time when I was a child.
With my voice now dropping, I'm feeling very confident that I will be able to fully align with my age. I long for this alignment. I crave to feel like an adult. To be seen as an adult man. I know that a lot of this acceptance lies within myself, it's not about others perception of me. The inner work I need to do is everything in terms of owning self acceptance, but hormone replacement therapy plays a huge role in this. I'm finally going through the puberty that I was meant to go through and I'm growing into the adult that I truly am.
I have noticed quite a few changes in my body (particularly my lower body) in weeks 9 and 10. Honestly, they kind of caught me off guard because I've been expecting this to take the longest out of everything. My midsection is changing shape. It's becoming firmer and feels more solid. In addition to the strength of this area, the shape is becoming slightly more square. The shape is also starting to form the slightest and faintest lower "V".
Although these changes are very subtle, it's promising. My midsection does not feel like it's a part of me. I struggle with this area a lot. Not so much that it's fluffy or undefined, but the shape has just always looked wrong to me. I've talked in great detail about how this section of my body was the key to me understanding that I had gender dysphoria. It was the disconnect around this area of my body that set everything in motion for me gaining a personal grasp on what I was going through. To learn more about how I nailed down my gender dysphoria and came to terms with it, visit the blog post "Depression's Deeper Purpose". To see changes in this section of my body and feel a slight alleviation of the disconnect is a calming feeling. I'm becoming more and more connected with who I see in the mirror.
Other than my midsection, my legs have blown up! This change was pretty surprising. I noticed this a little at the 2 month mark, but they just continue to grow. The width of my quads has grown so much that my pants fit differently. Jeans that used to be loose on the top now hug my thighs. I also kind of have a booty starting to take shape. These changes are partially due to the fact that I have been training my legs harder than before. After an injury in September of 2016, I lost a lot of leg strength and it has taken until now to really build them back up. The testosterone in addition to the dedicated training (and the bulking diet) have caused my quads and glutes to really grow. Luckily my calves are staying around the same width. For the physique I want to achieve, those do not need to grow any wider but rather just get more defined.
My upper body continues to grow. This is mostly due to the bulking program that I'm on and how hard I hit it in the gym. The strength gains I've had have been really great. It's nice to go into the gym and continually hit PR's and new strength gains. My chest and back and the two areas that continue to go up in strength the most. In these past two weeks, I've hit new personal bests on the Flat Bench Press, Flat Dumbbell Press, Deadlift, Lat Pulldown, Wide Grip Chin Up, Cable Row, Tricep Pushdown, and more.
At the 2 month mark I started to notice changes in the shape of my chin, it was squaring off. In the past 2 weeks, I think my facial structure has changed quite a bit. I'm sure that I'm noticing this more than anyone else because I look at my face all of the time. But, the main reason I'm seeing the changes is through the act of taking self portraits. I'm starting to notice that the light is catching my face differently. My jawline is longer and more pronounced. My chin seems larger and juts out more, it also continues to square off. I'm loving the way that my jaw is taking shape. My face is getting a more angular appearance and I like the change. Beyond those areas of my face, I think that my Adam's Apple is getting more pronounced and jagged. I've actually always had an Adam's Apple, a prominent one. Now it just seems to be getting larger due to my vocal chords changing.
FACE AND BODY HAIR
Well, I'm to the point now where I have to shave my face every other day if I want to appear clean shaven. At 2 months on T I could go about every 3 days. My chin hair comes in the fastest and continues to creep upward. It also is courser and my stubble is more prominent. My upper lip hair seems to be about the same which still surprises me (I thought that would come in faster). My sideburn hair is starting to show up which I'm really excited for. I can't wait until my hairline extends down to have sideburns. I have some more hair coming in under my lip and a little more fuzz coming in on the sides of my face.
My hairline on my head seems to be staying the same which is good. I haven't noticed any hair loss, fingers crossed that this continues. I've been giving myself haircuts on a regular basis lately to stay feeling confident with my hair. I find that a fresh undercut and dye job makes me feel better about myself. Also, having hair on the top of my head elongates my facial features and makes my jaw pop a little more. Mastering haircuts at home is a nice benefit to my grooming routine and keeps me feeling put together.
My body hair is finally coming along. My treasure trail is now showing and it is connecting to hair below the belt. This is all new and this hair was not there before. I can also notice that across my whole stomach I have more fine hair coming in. I'm excited for this, I want to have a decent amount of body hair. The hair on my legs continues to get thicker and is now starting to come up a little higher on the leg. My arms still don't have much hair at all.
I've had some beautiful moments in the past 2 weeks. I finally came out to my professional network and clients. This was something that I was scared to do. I hate the feeling of burdening others and even though I know it's not a burden to ask others to use my preferred pronouns, I still perceive it that way. I don't want to make people feel awkward or confused, I'm a people pleaser. But, the feeling of being called by preferred pronouns or hearing my chosen name out loud... it's worth it. Sometimes I forget how good it feels to be identified by others how you see yourself. The confidence boost is amazing. I've gotten so used to be self conscious and socially anxious... not feeling that way is foreign to me but I'm learning.
The support that I've received from most people has been incredible. The outpouring of love from the trans community continues to amaze me. I'm so honored to be part of a group of such loving, strong, and motivated individuals. I'm humbled by the love that I receive from my best friend, the acceptance and support (and laughs) they share with me mean everything if I'm having a hard day. Overall, I've gotten better at reaching out. If times are tough or if my head is swirling, I no longer just internalize those fears. I seek out support, companionship, love, and understanding from those around me or, in the case of social media, those who I have access to.
This lesson is huge for me. I take a lot on and overburden myself. I'm still not sure why.... why I strive for unattainable perfection and achievement. I've always wanted to leave a mark on the world, ever since I was a child. It's my hope that through creating things (images, words, designs, etc) that I am further climbing that ladder to living a full life. I've gotten much better at enjoying the moment, but I still have a ways to go. I've had quite a bit of solitude lately and I know that a shift is coming again in terms of personal growth. This first transition year has already been filled with so many twists and turns, but I'm ready to keep traveling down the path and open to what I encounter along the way.
Thanks for joining me on this transition journey. Please feel free to leave a comment or browse the other sections of the blog. My goal in sharing my experiences is to provide personal information to anyone seeking out advice on gender transition, mental health, and wellness. People's personal stories have been a huge inspiration and source of information for me, I'd like to pay that forward. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments, or just need a sound board.
Thanks for stopping by!