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.