Tuesday, January 16, 2007

yowch be gone

Going downtown to get (yet another) shot tonight, leaving work a minute or two early to try to make my 6:20 appointment. This'll be the third shot in my thigh, as a sort of prep for the possibility of starting to self-inject soon. The word from Callen Lorde is that they're still working out the protocol for authorizing self-injections within the first year of HRT, so I may have to wait til my T-versary (April 10th) before they'll actually let me run away with my own bottle of oily hormones and a fistful of sharps. In the meantime, I'm watching carefully how she does it each week, and trying to imagine that it's my own hand guiding the sharp pokey thing into my leg.

The first shot I got in my right thigh, as you may recall me yelping about, was extremely and unexpectedly painful for almost three whole days after I got it. The second shot, in my left leg, which I got two weeks ago right when I got back to NYC, was almost totally painless. Very mild soreness around the injection site, as always, even in my butt, but nothing like the cramps and tightness and stabbing pains of the first leg shot. I'm hoping that tonight will be another painless shot, establishing that first one as a fluke, but I'm nervous, since it's back to my right leg again. Maybe my right leg is just resistant? I'm going to ask her to do it higher up on my quad, since I think that's part of what helped the left leg be less painful.
It's really starting to sink in that this could very well be a life long process for me. There's talk going around of hormone pellet implants, that would slowly release over a period of months and obviate the need for shots, but they don't seem to be hitting the market anytime soon. Unless I quit T, I'm going to be jabbing myself cyclically for a good long time. I'm okay with that- it's a small enough price, after all. And even as this is becoming routine, even occasionally annoying and time consuming, getting a shot hasn't quite lost its luster yet. I'm still in slight awe of that tiny bottle of viscous goo.

It's hard to concretely connect that bottle to my own body. Part of the seduction of this transition for me has been the naturalness of it all. My hairs and muscles and husky voice have come upon me slowly and, though I've been scrutinizing every minute of transition, I've still had a pervading sense of normality throughout it all.

I know that a lot of transguys are frustrated and/or saddened by the 'necessity' of transition. They feel themselves men (or boys) and they want the rest of the world to know it, and they want the bodies to match. They don't want the transition process, with all its awkwardness and pauses and tensions and uncertain waiting.

For me, I've felt very much like this is normal in every way. I know intellectually that I'm inducing this masculine puberty, that it's the golden oil slipped into my muscle every other week that's making all this happen. But it feels to me like I couldn't be any other way, and it's a reassuring, solid comfort.

I feel very normal, and not at all a stranger in a strange body, as I'd once worried might happen. This body is mine and if anything, since I'm happier with it and prouder of it, I'm MORE connected to it, and it's more mine than it's ever been. But because I don't feel strange, I don't really feel like I look or sound much different than I always did. When I look in the mirror, I look like me.

Now, I have to remember that I used to look in the mirror and not really think I looked like me. and sometimes I'm jostled into a comparison, by finding an old picture and forcibly realizing the significant changes in myself.

Also because I think I still look like me, I don't really mind looking at old pictures of myself. I've looked basically the same- boyish/effete/slightly butch in varying proportions- since 9th grade, and even prior to that there was only a very brief period in middle school when I did the long hair/tight shirts thing. Those are the pictures that don't really look like me. My little kid pictures, though one could say they show a little girl, definitely show me, and I'm proud of them. I feel very glad and lucky that I'm comfortable with my photo history.

Pictures when you can clearly tell I have breasts (such as those from my short lived naked parade organizing days my first year of college) weird me out a little now, since it feels so normal not to have them. But other than that, and the few weird lipstick/long hair shots from 7th and 8th grade, I feel like my historical self rings true with my current self. Take a picture of the bow-and-arrow-crazed kid swinging from a treehouse and a picture of me now, in my tweed, tiny silver earrings glinting behind fuzzy sideburns, and the evolution is obvious. Who else would that kid have grown up to become?
In other news, I've started using some new stuff, Palmer's Scar Serum, on my chest as of last week. I noticed that my nipples were looking really dried out/flaky, and I ran out of Mederma sometime in December and hadn't gotten any more, so I thought it might be time to try something new. It's a bit oily, so that it stays sticky on my chest for a while, but even in the week that I've been using it I can tell that it's keeping my scars and nipples nice and moisturized, and I think it's going to do good things for them. It's got five different ingredients- vitamin 8 (something like 24,000 units), cocoa butter, shark liver oil, something else, and onion extract, which is also in Mederma. Too soon to tell for sure, of course, but it's definitely making my scars happy, and they continue to fade, in fact are downright white/clear in spots, so I'm excited about that. I've taken some recent pictures- I'll try to post them soon.

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