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Feb 12 2015

Eleven More Days…

I feel like my brain has been having a case of ADD lately. At this point, my hormone start date is less than two weeks away (Feb. 23.) That’s only eleven more days. The question that I keep asking myself is “Why do I have to go through all this to be happy?” That question keeps interrupting everything that I am doing, no matter what it is. It has interrupted me at work, at home, eating out, playing video games. I feel like I need to resolve that question… I am on a long path, a difficult path, but every step I have taken has made me feel better about myself. Clearly, this is my path; clearly, this is the right path… but why? One of the most recent times I thought about this is when I wrote a paragraph recently describing who I am. It is part of the comments of the most previous post. This is what I wrote:

“I am a unique person who is just starting to see the true colors of life. I am struggling to figure out whom I am in many ways but I do know that I am a person who enjoys helping others and will greatly inconvenience myself to do so. I am a caring gentile person who gets emotional when things attacked or solved in an efficient way or someone is mistreated. I love being with my family and friends. Nothing gives me more joy then to see the moment on their face when a struggle of a person has ended. I love to teach people new things and experience the moments where everything clicks. I love telling stories and writing. I have skills with technology, games, and writing among other things. I enjoy fixing problems. I love sitting around a table playing games with my best friends. I enjoy looking and feeling nice. I am a person who has a large mismatch between how I see myself and how the people around me and society as a whole see me.”

I feel like the paragraph above can equally describe a man or a woman. Why do I feel this uncomfortable as a man when my description of myself can be that of a man too? Why has life decided that my path is to change my physical sex to match the gender identity in my head? Why have I always seen in the mirror in my mind something different from the physical mirror saw? The mirror in my mind always saw a long blonde haired person with makeup and soft features. The mirror in my mind always saw a girl looking back at me. When I looked in a physical mirror, I shuddered. However, I sit here second-guessing why I have this monumental task.

I could second-guess myself into oblivion over this. I am good at second-guessing myself. When I took tests in school, I would frequently second-guess myself into the wrong answer. I learned that my first instinct was usually the right answer. When teachers told me to make sure to check my answers before submitting my test, I ignored it. I always did better when I did not second guess myself or recheck my work. As the date nears ever closer, my second-guessing gets worse. I feel like it is only natural to have, in your heart, second guesses about a permanent change to your body’s biochemistry… However, it weakens my position. Each time I second-guess myself, it is a chance for him to come back. If anyone around me sees me second-guessing, it is a chance for them to weaken my position as well. I will steel my resolve. Many transgender people say they always knew, and never had doubt. Now, I know why. Each time I second-guess, each time I worry it is an opportunity for that other person inside to say “well maybe it isn’t right for you” it a chance for someone around me to say “are you sure?” It is a chance to abort this path to before anything permanent happens. However, I, Jo, Know. This is the right path. I will steel my resolve. I will put up another shell. This one is a poker face.

What started this round of second-guessing? Results from baseline hormone testing, then my analyzing, and what I do best overthinking. I wondered if my hormones were out of balance the other way. What if I did not have enough testosterone and had too much estrogen?

So an explanation of the chart below: It has my results for each hormone and the normal male range and female range, based on someone of my race and age. Then I assumed that the target should be the middle of that range. The reason I make that presumption based on that there are negatives to having to little and too much of each hormone. I did some math to find the mathematical median of those ranges, which would be the “ideal” place to be. Then I did some math to see what kind of change would take me to that median.

 

Hormone Current Value Normal Male Range Male Median Change to male median Normal Female Range Female Median Change to female median
Testosterone 616 ng/dL 348-1197 772.5 +156.5 (+25.40%) 15-70 42.5 -573.6 (-93.11%)
Estradiol 23.8 pg/mL 7.6-42.6 25.1 +1.3 (+5.46%) 30-400 215 +191.2 (+803.36%)

The first thing that jumps out at me is the testosterone numbers. If I were to remain male, I am short testosterone by 25%. I only have 75% the testosterone of that of an “average” male. However becoming female would be mean losing 93% of the testosterone I do have.

A woman needs only 7% of the testosterone I have, yet a man in the middle of the normal range has 25% more than I have.

The estrogen numbers are far more expected. I am at about normal ranges for a man. If I wanted to be exactly in the middle of the normal male numbers, I would only have to add 5% of what I have now. The tricky numbers are that of a woman. The normal range for a woman is HUGE. To get to the bottom end of the female range I would only have to add 26%. To get to the middle of the female range I would have to add 803%. That is an intimidating amount of change.

I have already made the decision honestly but the amount of change coming to my life is nonetheless intimidating. Why has this challenge been placed in front of me? I do not doubt my decision. I wish I could stop thinking about it. I wish my gender mismatch did not bother me. I wish I could just do nothing to my body and live as is… but I know I will never be happy that way. I used to float on the wind and not speak up for what I wanted. I used to drown in my own emotion and let it sink away to explode later.

I will become who I need to be. I have heard Hormone Replacement Therapy changes lives. Those that need it, feel so much better once on it. HRT will be the spark that ignites me into the person I have always seen looking back at me in the mirror in my head…. However, it is only that spark. There is a lot to do once HRT is started and still a very long road ahead to becoming the me I’ve always wanted to be.

About the author

Josie

I’ve never been good at writing about myself. I’ve never been good at ‘talking up my strengths’ but at least I should try…

I am a 30 year old (gasp), woman. To me, it is just that simple. My life is slowly coming together into a form where I can be proud to call it my life.

Who am I? I’m a strong, loving woman that was assigned male at birth and is finally correcting that egregious error by biology. For most women if they have an urge like wearing a sundress, they just do it. For my first 29 years on this planet, that wasn’t a possibility.

I write to heal, then publish to inform. I hope my journey can make the journeys of people that come after me just a little less painful.

I also have a ‘day job’ as a Data Center Technician. I do an incredibly physical job lifting fixing and moving servers. I daily, walk into and then maintain ‘the cloud.’ Servers are still quite a bit larger and heavier than your desktop at home. So much so that I am the only woman on my team of 20 and one of 5 in the entire building of about 75. Technology is without a doubt a male dominated industry. Which makes me quite sad.

I wish I could better express who I am. I don’t feel like I’ve done justice to my history, my life, and my story, but for now, this will have to do. To me the most beautiful thing in the world is understanding and empathy. If we can have only one thing for each other person on this planet, I choose empathy.

4 comments

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  1. Dorothy Browning

    1 step at a time, granddaughter, one step at a time. Like a toddler learning to walk, you have supporting hands around you. I don’t mean for it to sound easy, I can’t imagine it is. Just know you have so many people surrounding you and loving you as you take this journey. And I’m one of them.
    Grandma Browning

  2. Dorothy Browning

    1 step at a time, granddaughter, one step at a time. Like a toddler learning to walk, you have supporting hands around you. I don’t mean for it to sound easy, I can’t imagine it is. Just know you have so many people surrounding you and loving you as you take this journey. And I’m one of them.
    Grandma Browning

  3. Susie Hayes

    Deep breaths Jo! The inside of your head is a lot like mine (minus the gender dysphoria) I think, think, think. Plan, Plan, Plan…worry, worry, worry…yada yada yada!. There is NO doubt you are a woman between those ears 🙂 In eleven days, you can swallow that first pill (or slap on a patch) and take some deep breaths and know you are on the right journey. Have you read “The Unteathered Soul” by Michael Singer? (http://www.amazon.com/The-Untethered-Soul-Journey-Yourself/dp/1572245379) If not, I highly recommend it.

  4. Susie Hayes

    Deep breaths Jo! The inside of your head is a lot like mine (minus the gender dysphoria) I think, think, think. Plan, Plan, Plan…worry, worry, worry…yada yada yada!. There is NO doubt you are a woman between those ears 🙂 In eleven days, you can swallow that first pill (or slap on a patch) and take some deep breaths and know you are on the right journey. Have you read “The Unteathered Soul” by Michael Singer? (http://www.amazon.com/The-Untethered-Soul-Journey-Yourself/dp/1572245379) If not, I highly recommend it.

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