I’ve lived on this planet for 24 years and in many ways it feels as though I’m seeing myself for the first time.
Week 3: Paying Attention
I can honestly say that I’ve never scrutinized my body so intensely until now. I’ve been tempted on more than one occasion to create a spreadsheet to document all the minute details of my body, down to each hair follicle, in eager anticipation of the changes that testosterone will bring.
It seems appropriate that it’s the holiday season, because I feel like every single day on testosterone is like the night before Christmas, waiting to open up my presents. Only this time, the presents are body hair, muscles, and a deeper voice.
Weirdest. Christmas. Ever.
What I’ve noticed so far is not too sexy: My appetite is that of a stereotypical teenage boy. I want to put cheese on literally everything. My face is greasy and my throat is tight, presumably because my voice is getting ready to drop (which is so soon, it feels like, but apparently this is a thing that can happen!). Oh, the wonders of second puberty!
Being on testosterone has made me realize that I never really paid close attention to this body that I inhabit. In part because it’s a body that has made me uncomfortable and dysphoric, but in part because we’re never told that part of knowing ourselves is not only emotional or intellectual, but also so very physical.
Somehow I have never been this connected to my own body. Maybe because I couldn’t; maybe because it still hurt.
I’ve lived on this planet for 24 years and in many ways it feels as though I’m seeing myself for the first time. Before, looking at my body scared me — so I didn’t, to be honest — because in many ways being in a body that does not align with your gender feels like a betrayal.
And how can you possibly love something that has betrayed you?
But I’m finally understanding that maybe, just maybe, it’s not a betrayal. It's the process of manifesting my truth onto my skin. It's the journey towards body acceptance and self-love. And in a way, it’s the most natural thing in the world.
I don’t want to think of my transition as a mistake being remedied, a synthetic process that had to be imposed, or an unnatural occurrence in my life. Instead, maybe this is just life, this is my life — in the way that we acquire wrinkles as we age or stretch marks as we grow, maybe this is just the evolution of my body as a transgender person.
No matter where the hormones came from, the point is that I’m exactly where I should be.
I like to think that this exercise in getting to know my new body will result in a greater love for myself. Maybe even more than I ever would have had if I’d simply been born into this body in the first place.
And so now, I’m waiting, swept up in this wild and astonishing thing that's happening to me.
I’m grateful that I get to experience this, with so much attention and so much mindfulness and presence. It’s not like my first puberty in the sense that it’s happening to me, as if I am a passive and horrified recipient. I’ve chosen this — there’s something incredible about that, being the agent of change here — and it feels empowering in ways that I never anticipated.
My body and I are in conversation after years of radio silence.
I feel anchored in this body; strangely calm despite the whirlwind of physical change. After years of avoiding mirrors, staring straight ahead, and feeling out of place and disjointed, I’m present in my body at last.
What’s the feeling? The word is on the tip of my tongue. Alive? Whole? Complete?