500 days on T
I recently turned 500 days on T, which is a nice number to celebrate. Also, it coincided with my last day of school (hooray for summer!), so it’s a good chance to look back on the past year or so.
In retrospect, it’s amazing how much I’ve socially blossomed this year. I knew my body was holding me back, but I didn’t realize how much until I managed to align my body with my mental “body map”. Perhaps it’s like getting glasses when you’ve had slightly fuzzy vision your whole life: you suddenly realize how clear the world can look and you don’t understand how you managed to get by beforehand.
Although I didn’t think that changing my body would change my life so drastically, I did want to physically transition before university so I could feel confident when meeting new people. I didn’t believe I could keep my past private for long –though, as it turned out, I could and did– but I did want to feel comfortable with myself. People already saw me as male before T, but they often stared at me, wondering why a little kid was in their class. And my chest was manageable before surgery, but I couldn’t deal with binding anymore, and it was really awkward whenever someone patted my back or chest. I know I was privileged to “pass” as my gender, but physical transition was something I needed for these reasons and many others.
Luckily, I was able to start testosterone seven or eight months before starting university, so no one questioned me about my age. And I had top surgery a week before the first day of school; though I wish I’d had more time to recover, getting that done before classes started was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Suddenly, interacting with people was easy. Sure, I was still slightly socially awkward, but I didn’t have to worry about my body anymore. I actually made friends, and even some close friends! It was as if I’d been walking against a wall, and the wall had suddenly been lifted: I glided smoothly into a new role as a friendly person, astonishing my old friends and even myself. (My personality and tastes weren’t radically altered; for instance, I’m still introverted and avoid parties. What shifted is how I interact with other people.)
Before each of my transitional-related decisions I reminded myself that transitioning isn’t a magic solution to everything: after all, cis people can also be shy, socially awkward, anxious, etc. But for me, transitioning was kind of magic. I’m still amazed at how quickly my life changed for the better after changing my body. I’m so glad that I made the decision to do it, and that I had the resources and support to make it possible. It’s like a second chance at life. I am so grateful.