I got my period.
Man, did I ever get my period. I was bleeding through the super-burrito-size tampons by the hour. I ruined every single pair of boy briefs. My physicians advised me that I might have a revanchist uterus for the first few months, so I was afraid I’d be re-enacting the first plague in my underpants. But the cataract eased off after a couple of days, and I ended up having a cycle indistinguishable from the ones I used to have. That’s a good sign. Part of me wishes that my body were feeling as reactive as I am right now, but normal is good.
So, why am I menstruating again for the first time in nearly two and a half years?
Well, I stopped taking testosterone about two and a half months ago, which means that I’ve been “on” estrogen for a little less time than that. What is pretty predictable, but when varies from person to person. It was understood that I would start bleeding again within a few months, and that I would return to normal within a year, but that’s about it. One normal menstrual cycle is no guarantee that the next few will be, either.
So, why did I stop taking testosterone about two and a half months ago?
Well, I’ve decided that I don’t actually want to be a man. I’m not comfortable living as one or passing as one, and I’m not comfortable having a male body. Round about mid-December, I started having some bad bad feelings about all of this. Basically, the last shreds of future-life were becoming present-life: the chest surgery results had finally gelled, I was going forward with legal transition (which meant obtaining a letter from my therapist which stated that I could not pass as female), I was getting ready to quit this whole transition-phase of my life, my parents had finally started introducing me around as their son and using male pronouns without stuttering, and so on.
And it felt wrong, wrong, wrong–it was more and more painful as it became more and more immediate.
It’s a little late, unfortunately, to be turning back, but not too late. People who are much more objective than I am right now assure me that I’ll be just fine.
I took testosterone for a little more than two and a half years. It masculinized the hell outta me. I got muscles and hair all over the place, my face squared off, my body fat drew itself onto my belly, and my voice dropped into a male range. I stopped being allowed in the women’s room–in a city that might have the highest butch-saturation levels on the planet–more than two years ago. I passed completely and continue to pass. I’ve been ma’amed a few times since stopping–especially on a vacation I’ll have to write about–but otherwise it’s been all boy all the time.
I also had chest surgery, that is, liposuction which my surgeon described as “aggressive” to masculinize my chest. I had a male chest for several months. Now I have really small breasts and softening pecs. It’s anyone’s guess as to what my chest will look like down the road.
Right now I am feminizing, at a pace that is as reassuring as it is unsettling. My face has softened. My skin has softened. My muscles are shrinking and going soft, and my body fat is being redistributed. I’m “smaller”–I don’t have the same visual mass in my back or shoulders. My hair is growing out (this makes no difference; it looks like the coif-child of Patrick Bateman and Phil Spector, and will for some time). My face is temporarily hairless, although that’s the result of laser hair removal (extremely painful, extremely patriarchal) rather than estrogen. All of that will continue. Passing as male is already becoming more a matter of presentation and preconception and less a matter of my body.
I took a couple of months for the sake of my sanity. Right up through late December, I fully intended to live as a man for the rest of my life. Whatever doubts I had, whatever signs, I didn’t entertain any of them. I am sorry that I wasn’t brave enough to come out to all of you immediately. And I’m sorry it’s kept me off of blogging.
More later, obviously.