It is approaching the one year mark now on hormone replacement. Simply put, that means that I've chemically reduced my male hormones and, in replacement, have introduced a female hormone regimen to replicate that of most natal women. The action of doing this was NOT to suddenly transform me magically into a woman. Heck no. I've been easily moving through society now and seen as a woman for a long time prior to my ever starting hormones. It wasn't solely for just obtaining breasts either (even though I realize that seems to be a major aspect or even, for some, a wishful fantasy). No, breasts are another thing to deal with that require yet another piece of restrictive clothing to retain them in their place. Ok, well they are nice in filling out my outfits so I guess, overall, it's a wash.
No, the reason I started on hormone replacement was to see how they would affect me mentally and if they would quell the disparity that I have always felt between mind and body. Being a computer engineer, I could not, over the 49 years of my life, quantify this feeling that somehow, something was chemically off up in that little brain of mine. And not being able to quantify that variance simply meant that it must be illogical and therefore should be ignored. My adage used to be on MANY an occasion, "Ignore the problem, it WILL go away".
49 years and the problem didn't go away. The variance I felt, the anger, the constant Thunderdome battle in my mind and the feeling of being disconnected from the world just became too much. I felt like I was communing with the world talking through a tin can connected by a string. My life seemed scarcely connected and mostly muffled as if I was in a fog. I couldn't quantify it but I knew that I had to reach for this because my ability to function on this planet was being strained thin. It was like having to listen to someone scratching their nails across the proverbial chalkboard in my head all day and all night year after year. None of this seemed logical nor did it seem to be quantifiable but I did know one thing. THIS SUCKED.
SCREW IT! I had to make the leap and test the theory. Sometimes experimentation through empirical analysis is the only means to test something out. Simply put, in science, sometimes one just has to mix those chemicals together and see what happens..... (I think that was how Silly Putty was invented as an industrial accident). Heck.... I might end up with something better.....or not. I had to try.
So now it's almost a year in and here's what's going on upstairs in my head (besides the little voices telling me to kill all my plants....):
Seriously.... Here's the itemized list (to date) of what's going on. It's subtle but it's quantifiable (finally!) and it feels AWESOME:
CALMNESS. I really feel much more "in sync" with my own sense of self. This one is hard to explain but I feel very connected now with myself and with the world as a woman. I used to have a lot of frustration and anger and these emotions, perhaps more typically male, have been hugely softened up and replaced with a more level and even keeled temperament. I really, really like this.....
WHERE THE HELL DID I PUT....: Since being on hormones I feel like my linguistics skills, my artistic senses and ability to learn (painting, writing, learning the piano) all have gone way up. It's like my left brain is now connected to my right brain and I'm using both halves more effectively. I seem to be able to multi-task much better and jump back and forth within conversations that then deviate to sub-conversations and topics and then, after ten minutes of side conversations circle back to the main one, connect and close the loop. Awesome! On the other hand, I feel I am more scatterbrained and find I am putting something down and then five minutes later trying to figure out where I put the thing I just put down. that part gets frustrating but, as I am constantly told by natal women, appears to be normal. Wonderful.
SENSE OF SMELL: My sense of smell has been amped up a notch or three. My olfactories are doing double duty now and I'm partaking of many more scents and picking up more subtle nuances in smells that are just a treasure to behold when they occur.
MY OWN SCENT: This is probably weird but my spouse noticed that I no longer have what she termed as a "guy smell". She didn't mean the basic sweat smell and so that was confusing to me. I had no idea what the heck she was talking about until I then started noticing that I was picking up a scent on guys that was unique to their being. She was right. Guys have a certain smell which women don't. She told me that it had been a turn on for her and that she missed it. I can't say that the smell I noticed on other guys did a thing for me one way or the other. Just interesting to note I found. Moving on.....
EMOTIONS: Holy Canoli! This is the freaking best part. I know many women who are happy to be free postmenopausally from their wild emotional swings but for someone who seemed to be "flatlining" their emotions as they plodded through life, this was like 1965 as if someone just came in the house and replaced my black and white television with COLOR. Whoa..... This one was showstopping. I liked it. If I happen to be watching something sad, blam, I'm crying. If I see something touching in a movie, WHAM, I'm crying. If I think about just some event in the past that happened that was sad, there goes the waterworks. But I am also finding that I laugh more, connect more with others and feel empathic to their emotions. I can sense what they are thinking and feeling and their emotions become mine. This is weird stuff but it's really like having a high-speed internet connection to connect with the world instead of the tin can and the string. There is one emotional experience that I have NO FREAKING CLUE about. I've told women about this and they just tell me "Welcome to our world". This is the one where I find myself Laughing AND crying at the same time. What the $*^% is that? How did that happen? Whatever. It's awesome and I love it. I also love NOT being angry internally or externally anymore the way I always felt inside. Good Deal!
STRENGTH: Here's one area where I lost out BIG TIME. My muscles have really diminished in the past year. Granted I was never anything more than a glorified string bean but seriously, I can barely find the stamina and strength to do many of the things I used to. Mostly it's in my upper body and arms. I helped a friend recently to move her stuff to a new place and I was cursing to myself how hard it was in comparison to before. Heck, I've had to start in on push-ups so that I could maintain enough strength to use my 47 pound draw Compound Hunting Bow. Wonderful.
I'M COLD !!!: I AM COLD ALL THE TIME NOW. Apparently this seems to have something to do with less caloric heat generation due to the fact that I have less muscle and less strength (see above). Whatever. I'll just go buy more pretty sweaters to wear. Fantastic.
SEXUAL ORIENTATION: Saving this one for last. A lot of folks seem to think that hormones change a person's sexual orientation. Baloney. I'm not buying it. No... what hormones seem to do is allow one to be more comfortable with themselves and, in so becoming, re-examine the personal barriers they may have put up about their own sexuality. I'll be very honest with you here. I've always seen women as friends and partners but not as sexual partners. I think when I was dating back in my 20's, a lot of women figured that out early on the relationship.....that I was a better friend than typical male partner. My own spouse had not dated much so she hadn't a lot to go on when she met me. I was just the wonderfully caring and empathetic best friend for her...it never in the decades that followed, ever became much more than that from an intimate standpoint. Trust me, in order for me to ever have had intimate relations, it required me to be pretty damn drunk to the point that I could envision that I was the woman. That worked for a while but not for very long. Screw it. I gave up dealing with the incongruity of the plumbing a long time ago and found a ton of other things in my life to concentrate on besides sex. Now, here I am at age 49 and pushing 50 shortly, looking at the same issues I felt back then. Remember how I said my mantra was "Ignore the problem it will go away!" ? Yeah... well that doesn't work either. Now as a woman I am facing this again. I'd tried to pay no attention to that personal problem behind the curtain and now the curtain has been lifted. What fun. Now I have to deal with the problem and fix it.
Enough ramblings.... I am pretty sure I missed a few points but if I have, I will come back and add them to this posting at some later date...so check back once in a while..... In the meantime, this ride is great and being able to understand how men see their world hormonally and contrasting that with how women see the world hormonally is a trip like no other. There ARE differences but I can't say one is better than the other. It's just very, very, very subtly different in ways that are only tangible if one has had the opportunity to have seen and experienced and lived in both the male and female realms. I'm much happier on this side of the fence though, thank you very much..... but it has been an eye-opening and affirming experience that has finally, at least from a personal level, become "quantifiable" and that's enough proof for me to continue my life as my true self as a woman.