For over a decade, I had been going back and forth hundreds (thousands?) of times in my head about whether transitioning was right for me or not. Or if not every aspect of it, what about this but not that? Will I ever move forward with some aspect maybe? At some point not that long ago, I seemed to come to the conclusion that no, I wasn’t going to move forward because if I were, I would have done something about it by now. And I haven’t, so I’m not. I must be lacking some internal drive, so it must not be something that I need to do. I settled on identifying as genderqueer and trans* but not planning on medically transitioning in any way. And I seemed satisfied with that. (?) But not quite, or, no, not at all actually. Because it was still on my mind. Sometimes just as whimsical musings in the back of my brain. Other times as pervasive/invasive body-dysphoric consistent ruminations.
I guess I always thought that if I did move forward with something, it would be top surgery, and not HRT. Because I never want to consistently pass as male. I want to continue looking androgynous forever. Top surgery could help with that (although I’m fortunate in that I can get away without surgery, and without binding, in hiding what I have). Taking testosterone would be going further than I want to go. So I thought.
I thought it had to be all or nothing. I thought I had to have a case ready about how I need to transition, in order to access testosterone. And I don’t need to transiton, and I really don’t like to lie. I thought I would need a letter from a therapist, and to jump through all these hoops, to access testosterone. And I wasn’t even sure I wanted it! Eventually I reached a point where I just knew that I needed to try it, at some point, just so that I could know. So that at the very least, I could think about it differently or think about it less often, as it relates to a decision about something I should or should not do.
I have this awesome therapist. She doesn’t know much about trans* identities. I’m fairly certain she had not previously had a trans* client before, although I could be wrong. I’d been talking to her about this stuff, and she’d been following along, more or less, in stride. When I would say I need to try this out, she would say, “then why not!” I asked her if she’d write me a letter if need be, and she said she wouldn’t be comfortable doing that; she doesn’t have enough knowledge about it. Still operating under the assumption that I would need a letter, I started also seeing another therapist, basically for the purpose of getting a letter.
This second therapist gave me the name of a doctor during our first session. Turns out that, apparently, I didn’t need a letter! Turns out I didn’t need to convince anyone at any point that I wanted to transition medically. I never once had to lie to get my hands on testosterone. And once I did get my hands on it, I was given the freedom to experiment with the dosing, basically use as much or as little as I wanted. Turns out I want to use as little as possible. Turns out I might be able to stay on it for the rest of my life without looking any more masculine than I currently do (this has yet to be proven, but it’s been 6 months now, and so far, so good). And the internal effects, with this super low dose, are significant and pretty much better than I could have even hoped for.
Basically, for all those years of wondering and second-guessing and processing and feeling anxious and obsessing and daydreaming and doubting myself and ultimately sort of concluding by default that I wouldn’t take any steps forward, actually doing something about it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
And in retrospect, it isn’t like there’s no turning back, to some extent. Testosterone is a slow-moving substance in terms of long-term changes… I’m really enjoying the internal forward momentum though.
Today was back to school day. What does “back to school” mean for a janitor? Well, for this janitor, It means not getting home from work until close to midnight. Blah! It means never seeing my partner (other than seeing her sleeping) during the work week. This will be new. Previously, she had mornings free too and worked later shifts. It’s going to be a big relationship-pattern change. So far we’ve been talking on the phone in the evenings, but, not the same! It also means doing the exact same thing, every single day, 180 times, until next summer. I’d be hard pressed to think of another job that is as isolating and routine-oriented as this one. Mail carrier, trash collector, …what else?
I’m grateful at least we have 2 months every summer where things get changed up. We get to work normal hours. (Well, close. It’s 6:30am till 3:00pm.) We get to work all together, as a team. And there’s all sorts of different, exciting things to get done. Scrubbing desks and chairs, getting the old wax up off floors and re-waxing, shampooing carpeting, lifting heavy things, moving and organizing stuff. At least it’s something different every day. And sometimes there are donuts!
During the school year though, we’re all on our own. I tend to be kind of rigid naturally, so I go through my work exactly the same way every day. I really think I need to challenge myself on this before it feels too mentally heavy. Things can get really heavy… Bleak, repetitive, draining, scary, lonely… Usually I listen to my iPod, and I read during break time, try to keep my mind active. I talk to my co-worker a little bit, but basically, I am alone. I’m kind of used to it by now, but also I want to preemptively plan ahead before things get really bad, in my head.