*I made up this word, I think (actually I just looked it up, and I totally did not make this word up), but that doesn’t mean some people don’t like it. Let me know if you don’t like it; I’ll think more about it. The root word is “pussy,” which I don’t mean to use in a derogatory way. More like it has a certain ring to it; it is an accurate descriptor for what I mean to say. I’m writing about becoming a pussy when it comes to pain, basically.
Also, trigger warning: self-injury
Before I started taking testosterone (about 9 months ago), I had a peculiar, but not really uncommon, relationship to pain. In many cases, I derived pleasure from pain. I would create sensations of pain, within my control, in an effort to calm myself. Also, when I’d hurt myself accidentally like for example, hit my arm on a doorway, I would feel alarm, followed by an adrenaline rush, followed by a pleasant soothing wave. I think in retrospect, I had a lot of potential to really get into BDSM, except for the fact that before taking testosterone, my sex drive was pretty close to non-existent, so none of that was all that appealing in a sexual context.
Now? If I hurt myself, it hurts! If I accidentally ran into a doorway, it would not be pleasant in any way, shape, or form. I remember the first few times I got hurt in little ways, in the first couple of months of being on testosterone; I was so surprised by how much pain was coursing through my body. I just felt like, aaaaaah! I’ve been swearing under my breath and feeling unnerved by how much stuff hurts.
When I’ve been feeling particularly upset or depressed, I will still have the urge or flash-image to self-injure myself, but there is no real desire to follow through with it whatsoever.
I haven’t self injured since last winter, which is so incredible to me. I hated that it was such an effective coping strategy. Probably my most effective coping strategy, for about 13 years or so. I’ve had such a long, complex relationship to self-injury, both as a concept and as it relates to my body. And I’m so glad to see it changing.
Is pain tolerance a gendered thing? I’m sure the way people experience pain is all over the map, but are there generalities between genders? Such as, females have a higher threshold for tolerating pain. I have no idea, but I’m really curious about it.
And seriously, how cool is it to be living through such a transformation on so many different levels? Like when I started testosterone, it never occurred to me that I might feel differently about pain and be cured (so far at least) of my self- injuring tendencies!