Sorry for the delay in posting. I actually wrote this a week ago and the strange sensation I mentioned has already passed. Still, I think it’s good to have a record of this.
So, how have the physical changes been for me in this stage of my gender transition?
Well: my butt has expanded to about three times its original size. My breasts have grown. My hips have changed shape. My face is very feminine now too. I think that genitals aside, I pass quite well as female while naked. A bit broad-shouldered, a bit beer-bellied, but generally, pretty female. I am thinking I could pull off going to a public swimming pool these days (as nerve racking as I still expect the shower room experience to be).
I’m going through a slight weirded-out stage right now. My breasts and butt are kind of new and strange and need getting used to. It’s slightly uncomfortable.
I’m not worried about this, by the way. I went as far as to have a single self-questioning moment recently; the first for about six months. But that lasted only a couple of seconds. All it takes now is to think about how different I feel now compared to before hormones, and I have more than enough evidence that I can never go back. The idea that I could is kind of laughable, in fact.
So why do I feel discomfort with these new changes? Well, looking back over my hormonal transition, I seem to have gone through a “weirded out” stage after several physical changes, after which I became comfortable – indeed very happy – with the change.
It happened with my change of body odour – I spent about a day kind of freaking out that I smelled just like my sister now.
It happened when my skin became softer – for about a day, again, it felt weird that I was now easier to wound physically, and I experienced an unpleasant sensation of vulnerability.
I think it’s just that when we are dealing with something as close to us as our body, any change is going to take getting used to. And that’s even with gender dysphoria strongly pushing me towards these changes. I think it’s just natural.
So I think this acclimatisation process is happening now that my breasts and butt have reached a certain stage where I can’t ignore them any more. The only difference is that this is a rather bigger change, with more for me to get used to. So I guess it’s understandable that I’m going to take longer here.
It’s hard to ignore my breasts now. When I cross my arms against my chest, I encounter them. Sometimes, I think I must look weird with my hands cupping my own breasts, and I have to find somewhere else to rest my hands.
Or when I lean against a table, now, my breasts might be in the way. There are certain positions that just aren’t comfortable any more.
Or when I’m snuggling with someone, I might be acutely aware if they place their hands too close to my breasts.
It seems that there isn’t really any practical benefit to having breasts, and rather a lot of practical downsides. They get in the way all the time. It’s kind of awkward.
And I’m just not used to it. I suppose after a while your breasts become part of your body image, and you’re better able to navigate 3D space while taking their presence into account. I’m sure it becomes very natural and normal. But right now I just feel like an awkward teenager.
Incidentally I talked with a (cisgender) romantic partner of mine about this, and she said that I was going through what she went through 6 years ago. Of course… it’s not just trans people who get to feel awkward over their developing body.
Of course, I didn’t undertake my transition for “practical” reasons, and my breasts have a whole host of benefits that greatly outweigh the practical downsides. I look great, clothed and naked. I feel and look dramatically more female, and feminine. My romantic partner loves them. I love that she loves them. They feel great in sex.
Funnily enough, the feeling of positive body image was easier for me to access when I was pre-hormones and wore a padded bra. I just LOVED how I looked and felt with (apparent) breasts then. I actually felt uncomfortable without my bra.
Now I get that feeling again, but it’s also mixed with these other conflicting feelings I mentioned. I’m certain that will pass, though, and I’ll start getting ecstatic over my breasts again, just as I was when they first started to grow.
My butt is rather the same. I’m awkward with it because I’m not used to my body being configured this way. Sometimes I bump into stuff with my butt because I’m imagining it to be smaller.
The other trouble I have with my butt is that I have kind of a traumatic relationship with it. When I was small, my parents (particularly my father) hit me there, and the humiliation and powerlessness and pain have formed a trauma which never quite went away.
Ever since then, whenever I feel shame, my butt contracts. And even when I’m not feeling shame, I think I try to avoid my butt in my consciousness. I almost imagine it’s not there.
That means that now my butt is bigger, it’s harder for me to avoid those traumatic feelings. It’s not so easy to pretend it isn’t there now. Sooooo… that’s uncomfortable.
On the bright side, perhaps being more aware of this will help me work through the trauma, something which I have been trying to do anyway in this general time. With luck, I’ll overcome it soon.
Besides all this, sometimes I’m looking at my face in the mirror and I get a weird feeling too. It’s not the unbearable feeling of gender dysphoria. It’s more like a void. I spent my entire life disassociating from my reflection and identity. Now I don’t have to disassociate any more… what should I do? I figure I have to learn to HAVE an identity and a self image, which I so long denied myself. And what sort of self image should I have? What is it going to be like to be someone, rather than no-one? And who is that someone? What is she like? How is she defined? Where are her boundaries? Where does she end, and other people begin?
I figure now I have to finally learn to like myself. Maybe even love myself. But let’s start with like. I am going to have a coherent identity at long last. I’m going to build one. Build one which I like.
It’s going to be a weird experience, to actually like my self image. It’s something I’m going to have to get used to.
And I am sure that will have knock-on effects on my life. Exactly what effects, I’m not sure. Perhaps I will be kinder to myself, more self aware, more able to participate in self-care. Perhaps I will be more rooted and involved in this physical life, and less inclined to escapism and airy-fairy, ungrounded philosophies. Actually, as I write this, I think I am already experiencing all of these effects to some extent.
I’ll be very happy to see that go further in future.
Now that the stress of the beginning of my transition is over, and now that I “pass” and no longer have to panic about extreme social ostracism, I’m starting to get a view of the future. It’s a huge blank canvass, ready for me to fill it in. I can stop running away from life and start really living it.
It’s scary. Really scary. And, well, it’s… also kind of exciting.
Right now life feels much harder than I ever expected, and much more full of possibilities. As I overcome my most pressing challenges, I hope and believe that it will become better than I ever expected.