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A year of small steps

While I fully came out in January of this year, the real start of my journey was on July 6th, 2020. That evening, shortly after dinner, I took my first dose of Estradiol and started walking the path that has set me free. It makes me smile, in hindsight, to recall that I took that first dose with all of the gravitas and ceremony of a morning vitamin, I have a knack for sailing past the big moment. I think, as I took the pills out of the bottle, I was just telling myself to get on with it and so I did. Nevertheless, a year has passed and, wow, what a year it has been.

Physically, a lot of change has happened, some subtle, some not quite so much. My skin is softer and less oily. I get cold in a sauna. I have acquired a surprisingly deep love of 95% dark chocolate. More noticeable is that I am also reshaping in response to one of nature's most powerful biological chemicals. Each of these, and more, are an incredible source of affirmation for me. It is difficult to convey to cis people the incredible joy that one experiences as each change progresses, but suffice to say that it is like nothing I have ever experienced before. As I got older, I had never expected that I would and yet here I am.

As deeply important as that aspect of my experience on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is, the most significant change is deep inside of me. What it did for me is create an abiding sense of comfort with who I am. When trans people talk about the importance of access to HRT, I think this is truly why. That day, a year ago, when I took my first dose, I envisioned a journey wherein I would transition mostly in secret for the first year or so, perhaps beginning my coming out later in 2021. Well, as we know, that did not last. By late October, the feeling of living in two worlds was impossible for me to continue and I started to come out to family in smaller groups until finally, in January, I came out to the world and removed that veneer that shielded me from view. Before a year had past, I had also legally changed my name and gender on my birth records. So much for the best laid plans of mice and women. (Sorry Robbie, it had to be done)

So what had changed?

My therapist had encouraged me to step out and explore while presenting in my gender before I started HRT. The first time I tried after that, I drove to a shopping mall, sat in my car for 10 minutes and drove home. I was scared. The second time, I did go in and I even bought some things, but I was still scared. Today? I don't even think about it. I am confident in my sense of self, and I am not scared. Is it HRT? Maybe. Maybe it goes back again to that abiding sense of comfort. All I know is that while travelling along this journey I had managed to finally undo all of those fears and that sense that being me was shameful. I finally learned that those feelings should never have been mine to wear.

So, as it was, a year ago I started HRT. As we like to say in the trans community, "happy hormoniversary" to me. It has, quite truly, been an amazing start to my beautiful journey and I am excited for the years ahead.

Above there is reflection
Colorful and bright
Dancing in the sunlight
Shimmering at night

Just below the surface
Another world awaits
Holding onto mysteries
Until some future date

Our view will let us marvel
That these two coexist
And think upon our experiences
And those we might have missed

The world is full of beauty
And also some surprise
Perhaps it is the future
Reflecting in our eyes.

    – Robert Longley

P.S. Speaking of gravitas... Yesterday, for the first time since starting transition, I wore a dress. As usual, I missed an opportunity for a milestone on a milestone. I once more sailed past the big moment, but that's okay!


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