Finding Perspective - The 6-Month HRT Update

This post was originally going to be two separate ones. I decided to combine them, so you'll have to forgive me if this runs long. I'll try to put the good stuff first.

As the title indicates, 8/24/19 represents six months since I started HRT. Since this blog has had defined objectives from the start, as in, "A tale about discovering. About hoping. About striving. And hopefully, about achieving.", I want to look at where things stand with those objectives in mind.

Discovering. Hoping. Striving. Achieving.

There is an excellent chance that I will repeat some areas I have already covered in the blog in this post. Not only from the past six months, but prior to that as well. Life is fluid in that way. Thoughts come and go, steps are taken towards objectives, steps may be taken in the other direction. We all want to charge forward with our dreams, but rarely are things so linear.

I'm going to now share something that might have been it's own post. I've wanted to write about this for a while, but honestly, I think I was afraid, because it brings back some painful memories. Combining it here allows me to acknowledge what came before, and assess what is now. In a way, this exercise is a way to see what's left to be done. And there is a LOT. But it's not everything. The "achieving" section is not blank.

I can't remember when I wrote what you are about to see. It's certainly more than a year ago, but less than two years. I started my current job in May of 2018, and I think this was prior to that, but maybe not. The first few months of the new job were spent in a fog, wrought with lack of confidence and unstable emotions. Just like in these words I wrote. Let me illustrate and explain.

That is the top of a page in a notebook. I re-discovered it one day when working at home, since I use the notebook to scribble down things for my job so I don't forget. The above was the start of an exercise in which a therapist (my old one, or my current one?) wanted me to write out my feelings. As you can see, that's some very bad printing. I was clearly very shaken up when I tried this exercise. I show the writing because I want to illustrate the way things were, veritably, at some point a while ago. I must have composed myself somewhat that day, because I went on to write almost two pages of feelings. And that's the important part, to me.

Like everyone else, I'm not doing great all the time. There are things that frustrate me still, although, as I wrote last time, I'm generally calm nowadays. In particular, I'm at a crossroads of sorts regarding my level of HRT as I go into my second six months. I haven't decided what to do yet. I want to increase, but in light of my particular life predicament, I'm not at all sure that it's wise to do so.

In making that decision, and indeed assessing my feelings about progress/lack of progress daily, I thought talking about a few of the feelings I wrote down a year or more ago would help me find some perspective. Maybe reading about what I'm thinking about these old/current thoughts lends perspective to someone else's assessment of themselves in terms of a trans journey, career journey, family journey, or whatever you want to "figure out". More on my next steps later.

If you see this right now and feel similar to any of it, especially the negative items, please read all the way to the end. The story gets better. It shows life CAN GET BETTER.

So here goes. If I cry while writing all this, at least you won't see my tears. 

"I feel shame because I can't get out of this and I am embarrassed.
I scanned through the full list, and similar thoughts to this one were:
"I feel desperate because I don't know what to do."
"I feel stupid because I can't think."
"I feel angry because I just lost my train of thought."

These quotes were all about the mental fog I was in. People have told me they think I was suffering PTSD. I dunno. I had been through a lot, including job loss and other things, not to mention the gender difficulties. I can remember my old job, people would tell me things and I was trying to catch on at the new company, and it all felt like I was hearing the words in Chinese. Or some language other than English. Sure it was technical stuff, but I had learned technical stuff before. Same issue at this newest job, during the first several months. I would get panicked when asked to do the simplest things. Started to sweat and everything. It was bad. And of course, that just lead to more worry that I'd lose my job, etc., etc.

August 2019 6-Month HRT status update: 

I can think again. I have been able to think for a good year. I might still have wacky, goofy thoughts, but they aren't so gloom and doom. I am getting better at my job. I can focus better at home. I can read books again without having trouble understanding. I don't know exactly what to credit for this, but I firmly believe that HRT has something to do with it. And God. Not having to question who I am 24/7 leaves time to comprehend and work on other things. It's better, and I'm glad.

"I am unhappy because I can't be me."
By "can't be me", I meant, I'm was not able to live authentically. I was unable to openly be Shannyn. I was unable to shed the mask of the male self. And yeah, massive unhappiness.

August 2019 6-Month HRT status update: 

I still can't "be me". But not quite to the same degree as before. I don't get time at home to make myself look as good as I can, and I don't have the ability to go get out in public like I want. There are various reasons for that. But, more than before, I feel like I AM me. There is less distinction between the girl wearing the male mask and clothes, and the girl who still has some promise, given half a chance.

"I am different inside than what others see."
This one would be pretty common among closeted CD and trans people. It's the mask again. But not even that. Physical characteristics provide clues as to personality. Except when they don't. I don't know what people see when they look at me, but it's not a woman. Not yet anyway. I don't know if they see a man, either. But if they do see a man, that view comes with...expectations. And when I can't meet those expectations, that makes for an unenviable situation.

August 2019 6-Month HRT status update: 

So, six months of taking 4mg Estradiol and 100 or 200 mg of Spiro, what is inside is even more different. And the outside too, slightly. The difference between who I am and what I'm expected to be has never been greater. There are pluses and minuses to that. The thing is, I'm probably the only one that realizes it. When I recently moved furniture with the help of an older man who was much bigger than me, that was an eye-opener. I felt weaker than ever. And I might be. I've never been very physically strong. But it's a price I pay gladly.

There are more items I wrote on those pages that I thought I'd reference here, but I will cut it off at this point. I think I did well to cleanse all of this from inside me. I can say I processed those feelings, and know that I've gained perspective. I am better. There's a lot more improvement to go, but it's progress.

What else is there to say about the 6-month anniversary? I took a nude pic on Day 1, and another today (and NO, you can't see them!!). I just put them side by side on my computer, and I don't see much difference. My breasts are budding a little. The rest I just perceive on the outside, the smoother skin, the decreased and slower-growing body hair. It's definitely easier to shave.

The doctor told me when I started that I might not see much physically, and I was perfectly okay with that. I know I'm not on a "transitioning" dose. The improvements between the ears were what I needed, badly, and I really believe I got them. More than I expected. That is so good. I'm glad for it. And grateful.

Real quick, back to the four four objectives:

  • Discovering - I discovered I can still improve as a person. I know more about who I am and what I want.
  • Hoping - I hope to continue to make progress. I hope my dreams can come true. There hasn't always been hope, quite honestly. Not that I actually felt.
  • Striving - I'm always pushing forward. Like I said to a friend recently, "my heart won't let me quit".
  • Achieving - I've taken the pills. I've altered my appearance, if only slightly and stealthily. I have better peace of mind. That's achievement, right?

Finally, if we are taking this in six month chunks right now, what's next?

I have decisions to make. Or plans to make, at the least. And I suck at making medium- and long-term plans and making them stick. I have to learn how to eventually end my marriage in a way that that works and does the least damage. I have to improve my financial situation. I WANT to do girl stuff! I want to get out. Do things.

The immediate thing I'm weighing is whether to increase the Estradiol. Doc told me this week I can, and get checked in a couple months. SOOOOOOO tempting! But is it the right thing to do, with so much at stake? What do I gain from doing that? Honestly, I hope I'd feel even better, but a lot of the thinking has been around my body. Especially weight distribution. HRT is NOT an acceptable form of weight loss! So, I'll just say that I'm pondering it all. I'll make moves when the time is right. I hope so, at least. At least I can think it through clearly now. I couldn't say that six months ago.

At this time, I'll sign off, and wish you all well. Thanks for reading!


  1. When I listen to those who start to transition at our local group, they - like you - talk about the mental effects as well. I think that must feel good to start to move towards the emotions you've described.

    1. The greatest gift of the past few years of struggle to get to now has been gaining the ability to FEEL. Forward movement of any amount does feel good as well, yes.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this, Shannyn. It helps me to see your progress.

    Calie xx

    1. Thanks for your support, Value. It means so much.

  3. If you’d asked me three years ago what my long term plan was, like would I take HRT, have GCS, transition... I just didn’t know, and I had no idea how to make a plan.

    Instead, I took it a step at a time, like experiments, to see what felt right and then to see what to do next. It was so amazing how each step led to the next. Increasing HRT, electrolysis, voice coaching, going full time, and so forth. Lots of steps but now I’m as transitioned as one can be, and very happy for it.

    My point is: if it feels right, do it. Increase you HRT, see how that feels. If it doesn’t feel good you can just go back. Likewise, go out as your authentic Shannyn and see how that feels. And on and on.

    Sure, it’s scary. But what’s the alternative? Living your life inauthentically, in fear? Sorry, to be trans are the cards we were dealt. No one else can play them for you.

  4. As I re-read what I wrote last night I wish to add that I’m sorry if I came off as pretty abrupt and a know-it-all. Goodness knows, I don’t!

    I’d like to suggest Dara Hoffman-Fox’s book, You and Your Gender Identity: A Guide to Discovery, which helped me tremendously.

    Best wishes on your journey.

    1. I shall check out that book. There certainly is a lot to learn. I hope I never stop learning. I'm proud to hear what you've achieved these past few years!

  5. I'm sorry you're struggling and not just with gender. Life is hard sometimes. I don't understand your goal so I can't and won't comment on your approach to reaching it; I simply hope you find happiness.

    1. One day at at time, they say. Never know what tomorrow brings. You actually sound like my mom did yesterday. Figuring me out isn't easy, but I'm working on it!

  6. You say a lot with just your four words: Discovering. Hoping. Striving. Achieving. I can relate to all of them. Each of them expresses a lot.

    I find you a courageous woman. It is not easy to go down the path we find ourselves on. I was about to say that we chose, but sometimes I feel that my path has chosen me.

    You are so right dealing with your feelings. It is a hard path, but a very enriching one for me.

    Keep up your good work. And it is work to do what you are doing.


Post a Comment

Comment here

Popular Posts