The difference HRT has made in my life has been MASSIVE. For the first time in my life, I feel comfortable in my body and I don't just look into the mirror with blind hatred anymore. I'm myself, which is a really freeing thing to say. Today I caught myself casually thinking, "I really like my body today," and it was shocking because I have literally never had that thought ever. The background noise of feeling insecure about my stomach and flat chest, hating my body hair and body odor, and worrying constantly about how other people see me has been turned way down. I still feel dysphoria, and some days are worse than others, but I finally feel like I can breath.
So, the changes. My body has undergone a fairly significant shuffle of body fat and muscle, and while I still have more to go in that area, the feeling of curves at my boobs—Did I mention boobs? BOOBS. They're seriously the best, and they're still growing!—and hips aided by an overall reduction in bulkiness around my arms and shoulders makes me feel so much sleeker and skinnier. My upper body strength has diminished a lot, but I'm still capable of doing most daily life things...it's just that lifting stuff over my head is a little more dangerous now haha.
My skin and hair are flawless as of this week, it's incredible. In my previous post, I was still wearing a wig, but I'm happy to say that I've seen significant hair regrowth since then and I now sport my natural hair all the time without shame. My entire hair line has basically filled back in, and the density on top is coming back. All over, my skin is glowing and smooth and soft.
Body hair is SOOOOOO much thinner and softer! A lot of it still needs to be removed via laser, but the difference is huge. Pre-HRT, I had to shave my entire body every day, and now I have to shave once every 3-4 days, so it's a huge time save and it also just makes me feel a lot less dysphoric about it. My facial hair is about the same, but I've just started laser hair removal for it, and I'm hoping that by 4-5 sessions, there will be a very noticeable reduction in hair and I'll finally start to feel comfortable with my face.
Socially, it has been a roller coaster, but in a good way. About a month ago, I started applying for jobs again under my chosen name (Allyssa Grey) as a woman, and while it was somewhat scary, everyone I interviewed with was very open-minded and asked me my pronouns, etc, and when I finally took my current job (kitchen in a coffee shop), it was my first time really living full-time as a woman. It's still bizarre to hear people call out my name and realize that they are talking to me and that I am Allyssa and don't have to hide it. It's an incredible feeling to live as your authentic self and not feel like you're having to pretend (which is how I felt on T).
However, it hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows. My girlfriend (who I posted about in a previous blog) and I broke up after I decided to fly to Pennsylvania to spend a month with her. After a few weeks, I think we realized there were some major holes in our relationship, and after I got home, we both agreed to an amicable breakup. It has been really really really difficult. I cry most nights. I've had a few upswings and a few downward spirals, and it's probably not going to be over for a little while longer.
But I do want to say that my ex was a very important part of my transition. She made me feel comfortable being who I was and helped me learn how to be comfortable with intimacy. She was constantly affirming and always reminded me of who I was when I felt like a fraud, and she taught me that I can be a badass gay woman and not have to worry about what other people think. Without that month living with her, I don't think I would be where I am now in my transition. I'm so so so so thankful for her for everything she taught me about myself and for accepting me 100% with no reservations.
I'm in a better place now overall, and I have a really bright future ahead of me. This is all a long-term recovery for me, and while I've made some progress, I still have a long way to go. Transition is necessarily a recovery from traumatic events in my childhood and having to face down the internalized transphobia, the inner rage at myself and my body, and the depression that plagued me and robbed me of my 20s. It will take years and lots of therapy to unravel everything, and even then, I'll probably surprise myself in years to come, but either way, my takeaway is that I'm glad I started to transition, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
Educate yourself on trans people and trans issues (you can ask me if you want), support them on their journey, and believe them when they tell you their identity. I am incredibly lucky to be able to transition pretty freely (albeit rather late in life), but thousands of trans people are stuck unable to transition or too terrified to become themselves. As a global society, we need to accept that gender dysphoria is real, that trans people need social support and accessible healthcare, and that active change requires active voices. Please learn and speak up. <3