Monday, April 09, 2007

Peter Puberty

Haven't posted in ages, but I'm going through a weird introspective time these days, so I guess that isn't too surprising. I'm hesitant to try to figure out why I'm feeling so inarticulate, because I very much don't want to lament that T is turning me into the strong silent type, and that I'll never again have my womanly emoting abilities back. Hogwash. I hope.
It's my 2nd Manniversary today (tomorrow?) and I'm not quite sure how I got here so fast. The past year has been an incredible one, naturally, and has involved quite a lot of time expansion and contraction. The months of last summer went by so s-l-o-w-l-y and then this winter and spring have been zipping right past. I'm settling into myself and it's going well, I think, if a little rocky. I've got plenty in my head to think about, and maybe if I get a free minute tomorrow at work I'll actually expound upon a few of them, including but not limited to: attending the Trans-Health Conference in Philly this past weekend, being asked to be on a "LGBT 101" panel at my work, watching documentaries about trans parenting and thinking a lot about babies, making friends with dudes.
Tomorrow I've got my self-injection exam at Callen Lorde where, if I successfully follow all the proper steps and give myself a shot in front of witnesses, I'll be given appropriate and necessary supplies and set loose. Feels like apron strings are about to be cut.
I went through a beard growing experiment for most of the month of march and, while it's clear I don't have it in me yet for the real deal, I must say I was pretty pleased with what three weeks worth of carefully not shaving achieved. It's very soothing to be able to run fingertips along scruff-roughened cheeks while I'm thinking or planning or puzzling. I've since shaved it off and now have some optimistic but slightly uneven (so hard to look at both sides of my face at the same time! especially with a razor in hand!) muttonchops. I've decided I'll wait til June to try growing it all out again, and invest in a beard trimmer next time to try and even up the edges. Summertime probably isn't the most felicitous season in which to have a fuzzy face, but I'm impatient, and it'll be worth it.
oh, and I finally put up another voice post.


Micki said...

It's great to see the 'truest you' coming more and more into focus as your transition progresses.

Sending you huge hugs and much friendship.

Anonymous said...

what if Testosterone DOES affect your cognition, emotions, and/or personality?

what, exactly, would that mean to you? and why would you be hesitant to investigate it?

Eli said...

Micki! So good to see you comment, and remind me that it's been far too long since I've given you a call. Thanks for the hugs, and friendship.

Eli said...

Hey, anonymous, thanks for your questions- I appreciate the opportunity to dig a little deeper.

I wasn't very clear in my entry; I guess what I should say is that I do think T has been having an effect on my cognition and emotions, but I know that statements like "T makes me so angry all the time" can be pretty loaded and problematic...while I think T has been contributing to my shorter temper and more frequent periods of resentment/impatience, I think saying that my emotions are caused by T absolves me of too much responsibility.

Maybe because I think there can be a fine line between emotion and behavior, and while my emotions may be changing due to T, that doesn't mean I'm not still responsible for myself.

It's not that I'm not hesitant to investigate- and a good thing, too, since I just did some very fruitful investigating in this comment!- so much as I'm hesitant to comment on it before I fully understand what's going on.

Also, because I'm not certain how much of my emotional state at any given time can be ascribed to a hormonal origin, and I think (as can be witnessed in the cultural discourse surrounding PMS) that it's possible both to give short shrift to and make too much of such topics, and both are pretty fraught. Assigning too much importance to the effect of hormones on cognitive function takes away a lot of individual agency, and can pretty easily be co-opted as an oppressive tactic. (as in the women and PMS analogy: women being dismissed as crazy and high strung and they just can't help it...I don't want to be dismissed as the short-tempered/impatient man who just can't help being aggressive and frustrated)

But on the other hand, it's not very helpful to try to deny or dismiss a cognitive effect- as I think you're implying with your questions, that could be a pretty harmful route to take, too. It's not very useful to try to ignore a real cognitive effect just because you're not expecting or welcoming it.

Which leads me, I think, to one more reason that I'm not real comfortable talking about these alleged (ha! just a little joke) effects. It's not something that I was anticipating- not something that I heard a lot about or read a lot about in other transguys' writings, and not something I remember being emphasized in the very detailed consent form that Callen Lorde provided me with.

So in that sense, I'm a little bitter, because dealing with the cognitive effects are turning out to be harder that I expected, and I don't like being unprepared.