1 month on testosterone

22 Feb 2014

Sitting in the backseat of the Subaru on the way to dinner, I carefully opened the red and white box to find a Daruma doll.  I recognized it immediately.


When I was a kid, my dad’s sat on a shelf in a room we rarely used, but it wasn’t until this moment, in the back seat of my friend’s car, that I finally learned that its purpose is to help you focus and achieve your goals. The doll has two blank eyes. Once you decide on a goal, you draw in the left eye to mark commitment. After you  achieve it, you draw in the right eye. It is traditional to get a Daruma doll annually and to burn them ceremoniously at the end of the year. That night as we shared carnitas, empanadas, and margaritas to celebrate my one month on testosterone, I thought about what my goal will be. I can’t think of a better gift for this journey.

I’ve experienced two running narratives this past month. Above all, I am incredibly happy, at peace, confident and hopeful for the future. However, the day to day has been really rough, and I’m feeling frayed around the edges. So far I have had three shots, one every-other-week, and my energy and mood have taken a real swing in response. The first shot was the most intense. I felt almost too good. 2014-02-27_1393519102My heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest, but when I would take my pulse, it would be normal. I would wake up to my alarm and bolt out of bed, and then crash right after lunch. All I wanted to do was work out and ride my bike. Sometimes I would get home and just keep walking right past my house and do a loop around the neighborhood. After a few days of energy ups and downs, I’d settle into feeling solidly awesome, followed by a week of feeling anxious, depressed, and overwhelmed. Then it would be time for my next shot. The second round shared the same pattern, but was less severe in the initial rush, but followed by the same second week of feeling down. The third was the easiest yet, I felt awesome right off the bat and felt more even during the first week. I’m starting out on a half dose, so it makes sense that I’d be experiencing a hard come down the week before my next injection. I’m looking forward to evening out over the next few months.

The physical changes I’ve noticed the most so far have been in my ability to gain muscle. Even though I’ve been working out more, even in the times in my life when I was the most fit, I have never been able to bulk up like this. It is really noticeable in my upper body. My legs feel stronger and more solid, and there’s a different weight to them. My voice sounds generally the same, although when I’m singing into my motorcycle helmet or in the truck, I’m noticing that I can hit lower notes than before and that my higher range is weakening.

I’ve been wrestling with how I want this blog to look and feel, and grappling with how to use it to tell this story. Since I started testosterone, I’ve been hyperaware and tuned into transgender and LGB pop culture, politics and communities.@ellenpage Just about two weeks ago, Ellen Page came out during a very moving speech at the Human Rights Campaign’s Time to Thrive conference. It reminded me of how lucky I am to be coming out in this time, in this place. So I decided to tell her that in a tweet, and use that motivation as an opportunity to develop a working timeline of current events starting from January 22nd, 2014, that I’ll be posting here soon. It’s a good day to become who you are.

I feel like a small dragon (Shot 2, 5 Feb 2014)

It’s been two weeks since I started testosterone. Three days after my first shot, San Francisco hosted its first annual Mr. Transman SF. It was a not-so-subtle reminder of how lucky I am to be starting my transition in a city like San Francisco, on a day like this one;  my city is accepting me with open arms. This past September, Anthem Blue Cross of California released its first transgender health  plan benefits. Things are changing in California. I know how lucky I am.