Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Down to the river and drink

So I've been trying to stay hydrated lately, and I've been drinking lots of water, which makes it so that I basically have the bladder function of a hyperactive squirrel but! My acne has sort of cleared up since I've been on this H2O campaign. So any of y'all with acne, try drinking more water, see how it works.

As I may have mentioned before, acne has been my least favorite testosterone-induced change, and I'm really hoping that it's going to subside relatively soon, like any other pubertal affliction. Makes me think about hormones and transition, though, and wonder about the puberty aspect of all of this-how much of what all is going on is tempestuous adolescent turmoil? Are my face and my emotions going to settle down in a year or two? Is the short fuse and the oily skin something that I just have to wait out? I rather hope so, since I'm not looking forward to having a minefield for a face the rest of my life.

Also, makes me wonder about what changes I've experience in the last year are wholly attributable to my new hormone balance, which ones are just my own change and growth during my 21st year, and which are some mixture of the rights, I'm not truly out of my first adolescence yet, and I'm starting a 2nd one. I've changed a lot over the past year, not just physically. Some of it is solidity and contentment directly related to being happier with my physicality. Some of it comes from having a rich and delightful social life- my friends are excellent, my lover is a blessing, and I'm closer to my family than I've been in ages. Some of it, no doubt, is from being 21 instead of 20 .

So what's the moral of the story? Patience, grasshopper?

I think it's that things will settle as they may, and I'd like to stop looking forward and backward all of the time; important though it may be to know where I'm coming from and where I'm going, I want to see where I'm at.
Got another shot last night, in the left leg again and it didn't hurt at all. Clearly, the left leg is the invincible one. I'm nearly at 10 months on T, so we're going to do some bloodwork next time, check my levels, see how things are progressing. Funny to think the time has flown so fast! I'll try to post some pictures, etc. later. Changes are, of course, still happening, though they're either happening more slowly or I'm just not paying as close attention. Ro says my voice dropped again this week, though it doesn't sound much different to me. I haven't been able to get the livejournal voicepost thing to work lately, so I haven't been able to make a voicepost and compare, but I believe it. Hair is continuing to fill in though, of course, not quite as quickly as I'd like. I'm eager to get past this adolescent stage (though here I am looking forward again), as I'm feeling rather stuck in a midway point. I think I look younger now than I used to- between the acne and the recalcitrant facial hair. I used to have written in an "about me" section online somewhere that I'm younger than I seem but older than I look, and never has that been more true.
Funny thing- last night I was lying down, rather idly feeling my chest after having put some oil on my scars. I know that I still have some breast tissue under my arms; mastectomies for masculinization purposes don't tend to be as thorough as cancer-based mastectomies, since the goal isn't necessarily the eradication of all breast tissue but just almost all of it, the parts that are distressing. So I know I've still got some breast tissue at the tail ends of my scars, almost in my armpits. Ro reminds me that I need to keep an eye on them in terms of doing self-exams for lumps, etc, since (speaking of cancer, god forbid) it's still breast tissue that could develop lumps or cysts or what have you. What I noticed last night, though, is that the texture of the skin and flesh there is very...breast like. If I lie on my side, there's a tiny bit of a dogear at the end of my scar, and the protruding skin is very soft and squishy and feels like my breasts used to.

For the first second I had a moment of repulsion- as in, aaah, they're still here! All of that money and time and stitches and drains and I've still got breasts! But then I realized that of course, I don't, I just have these soft spots which, from just the right angle and with just the right touch, are tiny reminders of what once was. It's kind of nice, actually, to think that I've still got some remnants of my breasts.

I love my chest more and more with each day that I settle into it, as the scars break up and the sensation creeps back and the familiarity sinks in. It feels so normal to be flat-chested. It's hard to remember, sometimes, that it hasn't always been this way, that it might very well have been another way. I don't know what that means, that I feel very normal this way. I don't know if it's some kind of weird proof, a validation that I really am trans, after all. I don't know if it's something more troubling, a kind of complacency with the binary gender system that I've always disavowed. I've always said I don't want to be normal! (Though my answer to this, said both fiercely and, against my will though I'll admit it, a touch wistfully, is that I'm not normal, and I don't look normal, so no worries, mate.)

Maybe 'normal' is the wrong word- I might feel better about it if I used a less loaded description, like content with myself. My trouble with 'normal' is that it sets up my body as better now than it was...and, well, in some ways, it is. But I worry about where these feelings are coming from- worry that I'm feeling better about my body because it looks more like what society thinks it's "supposed" to look like rather than just what I want it to be like. And here's where I start losing track of my chickens and my eggs and just tread carefully all around, because a) I'm never very good at rooting out just "where" my feelings are "coming from"...pertinent words put in quotes to try to express their limnal inadequacy. I know my feelings are part me and part gender, etc, etc.

I guess I want to be careful of saying that I feel better physically transitioning because I know how easy it is for words like that to be generalized into "it's better to physically transition" and then before you know it there's a transmasculine master narrative and we're all marginalizing each other!

Woof. All this time I spend juggling privilege and oppression, I'm going to start hitting myself in the head if I'm not careful. Now I've been processing for paragraphs when all I really meant to say was that it's kinda nice right now to have these small reminders of my breasts tucked into the corners of my scars.

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