Eight months into a years-long journey and It’s been a wild ride so far.
In jest, I’ve referred to HRT as my second puberty and while that’s partially accurate, it doesn’t show the whole picture. It’s both a second puberty and the undoing of the previous one. Those two processes are sort of taking place simultaneously and all of the shifts, changes, and in some cases growth is exhausting.
At the same time it is exhausting it is exhilarating. Every few weeks I notice some kind of change and it makes me smile. When I first went through puberty each physical change brought me horror, and anxiety, this time around each change has made me smile and feel lighter like after a long delay I’m finally growing into myself.
It is taking longer than I would like for this stuff to stop growing. My endocrinologist warned me it would take a while due to the concentration of hair follicles. Makeup helps but for the most part it’s just there. It’s the facial hair and my voice that I think most frequently cause people to misread my gender.
Facial hair was also one of the early puberty signs that helped kick off a very prolonged body-related depression. I hate having facial hair, love it on others, not on me. However, there are still a few years of HRT-body related changes coming up and that will include the loss of most of my facial hair. It’s already getting patchy and thinner.
Hormones play a major role in where body fat is accumulated on the body. As time passes my hips and upper chest have gotten fatter while my tummy, arms and collarbone area have gotten noticeably less fat. Pants, shorts or skirts that fit on the hips fit much better on me now and I find I need a belt less frequently.
While I don’t have super pronounced hips the changes have been enough to surprise me. Every few weeks I will see a reflection of myself in a mirror and do a double take after noticing the changes because there are curves where there were no curves.
Such a journey so far, from 36A to 36D then over to 38C thanks to shifting body fat, so I don’t own a lot of bras because it’s not a great place to spend money right now. As a result of the growth it feels like every few weeks there’s discomfort from itching and tenderness to straight up pain as they grow. Overall I am, quite pleased with the results and an ice pack and Advil helps with the growing pains, like in this instagram picture below, since then I’ve become good friends with the Magic Bag.
Overall my mood is good, I have better days and bad days but generally speaking, I feel better about myself. This is a sentiment that started at about the same time the HRT started taking effect. It’s the sentiment that led me to discontinue use of anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication. As a result of all of this, it feels like the rage and aggression I’ve carried for my whole life is weaker, fading, and further from the surface. At the same time, my emotions, in general, are closer to the surface, I feel things more.
A lot of that is due to the discontinuation of medication but I wouldn’t have been in the headspace to do that if HRT hadn’t helped improve my mood and somehow reduce my general stress levels.
One mood-related item that is definitely hormone-related, is dependant on the timing of medication. On the odd occasion I have missed a dose or been late on one and occasionally it can cause irritability, and I will cry at the drop of a hat. That’s usually avoided by taking the hormones the same time every day, or within an hour or so of the same time.
(CW genitalia and sex this is also the last bit so you can skip it if you don’t care to read)
Recently I saw a post on a trans facebook page that said something to the effect of, “you end up losing your virginity over and over, there’s the first time, the first time after HRT starts working, and the first time after surgery.” Eight months into HRT I would concur with that sentiment. Sensitivity has changed, in some places, mostly it’s increased, like a lot. Erections don’t really happen anymore, or they’re brief and weak, this is totally due to the HRT. Frankly, sex takes more effort now than it used to but the effort has been well worth it. While orgasms are more difficult to have they’re so much more powerful and intense so there is a trade-off at play.
The strangest thing is simply that things are changing. I’ve known my own body in a personal way for almost three decades and things that used to work or feel good don’t necessarily anymore. However, that leads to a new process of discovery and learning about new things that do work or feel good.