One *EOTWP*

Friday, January 29, 2016

One Year (Week 52)
One full year of hormone replacement therapy is complete. I can't believe it.

I'm happy. So much has changed. It feels as if I'm involved in some sort of fairy tale come to life. I mean, I feel different now. It's crazy. It's incredibly difficult for me to try to think back and remember how I physically, emotionally, and mentally felt pre-transition. I really can't recall how it felt. There was internal aggression fueled by all the testosterone in my body, sure, but I can't remember what that aggression felt like. It's gone. And I couldn't be happier because of it.
Same day, one year apart. I'm so happy now. <3
I have breasts now. And hips, too. My bone structure, although staying the same, has thinned. I'm smaller now. My skin is softer, lighter in tone, and is more susceptible to cold. I stay cold all the damn time now. It's unreal. Everything is super sensitive to the touch. I love it. My shoulders have shrunk in size — my trapezius, rhomboideous, and teres shoulder/back muscles have diminished in their masculine tone and form. It's amazing. The upper portion of the chest has flattened in, allowing my breast growth to really take shape...which has really become noticeable since this last growth spurt that hit near the beginning of December.
At the one year mark: bust and hip growth once again. MUST. START. WAIST. TRAINING. SOON. Ugh.
My nails are more brittle. They grow remarkably faster now, too. My hair has grown in quite well, and dormant hair follicles are growing in, in strides as well! That's the part that really thrills me so much. Anyone who knew me within the last seven years, you guys knew the one aspect that I always harped on so much that depressed me was my thinning hair. I used to cry so much over it falling out. It always caused me so much dysphoria. But that's no more. It's growing!! I love it.

My lips have plumped a bit and become softer. I notice this especially during kissing. ;) My eyes have changed shape — to the point that the corneas drastically reshaped themselves that I had to go and get a brand new eyeglass/contact prescription in June. That's bonkers.
Just look at that. LOOK. I can't describe to you in words how much relief I feel in knowing I'm becoming my true self.
I had to fight for my voice, though. Training myself through my childhood into my teenage years to sing really helped once I began voice therapy in mid-October of 2014. Learning how to properly stretch and train the vocal cords to resonate a higher pitch and tone while speaking came naturally for me. I can't even speak any more at the low pitch my voice used to sit at. It's nuts. I try, but I just sound like a woman with a really deep voice. LOLs. It's incredible how that aptness for talking with such a low masculine tone has vanished. Very, very thankful I was able to train myself well in that area. Voice is such an incredibly important aspect in terms of passing in public. I don't think enough transgender women understand this to full capacity.




I cry. I cry a lot now. I was always adamantly emotional beforehand, but it's expressed at such a higher degree of tangibility these days...it can get slightly overwhelming at times. I don't mind crying, really. It's just, at times, it can hit at an inopportune moment's notice. I might not have tissues handy when it does. :P

Things are finally very real now, and that's what matters most. I'm finally getting comfortable in this body. All of the above mentioned traits are physical, mental, and emotional changes thus far. So, let's get to other facets all around Sarail, shall we? :)

I have a boyfriend now...a cute, fuzzy-faced boy by the name of Joey. He's utterly way too sweet to me. I like him. He likes me. That's good. Hehe. (He's really good at Splatoon, too!)

I lost my best friend, T.C., in October. His fight to live before his untimely passing pressed me harder than any other event in my life. He was my support and comfort through almost 15 years of my life, and was my rock as I began transitioning. I love him and miss him greatly. A friend of mine saw how broken my heart was and introduced me to two brand new, totally adorable and furry kitten friends — Juno and Gigi. They've provided an immense amount of healing since losing my T.C. I'm very happy and lucky to have both of them in my life...even if they are an utter mess. It's adorable, though.
Juno and Gigi doing what they do best in their mama's lap...sleeping. <3
I've moved to Little Rock after several months of debating with myself earlier last year to actually make the move. I left behind a very solid source of income (that I greatly miss), a handful of co-workers and friends that I love dearly, and an apartment that truly became 'home' and a source of safety for me. But that safety was diminishing. I didn't feel safe after having been physically threatened by my sister's now ex-husband. I had to get out.

So my friends from Little Rock came to the rescue — specifically, one by the name of Ruth. She needed a roommate in preparation of starting pharmacy school later that autumn. And I'm not going to hide the fact that aspects of this move have been bumpy, but relocating was absolutely what needed to happen in my life. I feel safer now. My family and previous Herd friends (and person who physically threatened me) no longer know my address of residence. That brings me comfort.


I'm surrounded by love now. Love, support, and acceptance from like-minded individuals who truly understand what having an open heart represents...I've honestly never been encompassed by such truthfulness and endearing honesty. I only had a handful of friends like that in northeast Arkansas...Dexter, Leah, Tori, Bobbi, Hillary, Jade, Ray (even if you were hesitant at first, Ray...hah)...thank you. Thank you for being so wonderfully kind, understanding, and accepting of a girl who was trying to break out and escape from her external prison.

But for Ruth...

You're the sister I've never had in my life. You've taken me under your wing, provided for me, supported me, cried with me, laughed with me, went shopping with me, performed minor toe surgery on me, critiqued me, championed me, introduced me to new grandparents, shared secrets with me, grown with me, gotten tipsy with me, supported and accepted me, and most importantly...unconditionally loved me.
From August 2015 — Ruth and I enjoying ourselves at her induction to pharmacy school after-party at Cajun's Wharf.
I deeply love all of my friends that have shown and exuded their love and support for me from all parts of the world, but Ruth, I value your love, friendship, and sisterly bond to a higher degree than all others. You've fought for me. And I would most certainly do the same in return. I love you. Thank you. <3

And that brings me to one of the final topics I'll discuss from this past year — my family. Yes, family is who and what you make of it, but in this regard, I'm talking about my blood-related immediate family members.
Family Christmas photo from 2009 — one of the last photos I have of all of us together. Most of them were happy. I was not, if you can't tell (pastel green shirt). Discomfort constantly plagued me.
After one full year, I feel even more distanced from them. Not necessarily in miles, but by emotional and personal regard. This might partly be my fault because I've fought so diligently against them to show what unconditional love means, but I haven't seen any form of positive tracking in terms of coming closer to acceptance for who I am. This upsets and disturbs me greatly. My mother is the only one who communicates, and even that is so very little. I feel like I have to poke and prod her just to get words to come out every few weeks.

I'm not going to lie and say I don't miss them. I do. But I also see how they honestly are as human beings regarding differences in values of humanity. And it's gross. It hurts. I still don't understand why it's so hard to just love another human being — especially when that human being is your child, your sibling, your aunt, or your cousin. Shame on you for not seeing the truth in that. Shame on all of you. But I still love you, unconditionally even.

Religion. I was deeply entrenched in it growing up in a Pentecostal church environment. I witnessed sermon after sermon of hatemongering, idealistic and conditional love, and unrealistic family and relationship-based values. Fear and guilt are what was constantly preached. That all brought me near the end of 2012 to finally begin shredding to bits the indoctrination that plagued me all my life. I finally began understanding how disgusting patriarchy is in social settings...be it family, relationships, etc. My family are fundamentalist Christians, and I know it's this belief of theirs that hinders any sort of advance in coming to terms with understanding who I am as a human being.

So being introduced to a wonderful and new slew of freethinking and loving individuals both here in Little Rock and some in Jonesboro finally unlocked my mindset and opened my eyes fully to truth and reality. It was the turning point that finally cleared my mind once and for all. I'd say it was a bit before my brother's wedding in October 2013 when I dropped the ignorance and realised I am an atheist and humanist, though. I remember standing on that stage during my brother's wedding, and the minister (my sister-in-law's brother) asked everyone to bow their heads, close their eyes, and pray. I bowed my head, but my eyes stayed open. Then I looked up and was fixated upon all of the people in that sanctuary doing the very thing they've been taught to do from such a young age...not knowing any better or any truth about why they even do that to begin with.

I bring this up because by October of 2013, I was so very badly wanting to begin my transition after so many delays. I stood there knowing that not a single person in that church understood what had been going on inside of me my entire life. And I felt trapped and cold as I stood there. But as I noticed all of the bowing, praying heads, it sparked a sort of evolutionary thought process in my intellect. I grew. I became smarter, wiser, and even more understanding of differences in this world. And I was beyond ready for my brother's big day to be over and done so that I could finally begin my steps toward reclaiming myself.

This past year, I've reflected constantly on that event and others like it. It's important in understanding how and why pivotal points in our lives bring us to positive change. There's another I'll discuss at some point in this next year of transitioning that has to do with a particular trip I took to Orlando in 2005. But yes, I'll get to that story later. :)

Thank you, everyone, all of you who have positively influenced and affected my life this past year. You guys are truly a gift to my life, and I'm super appreciative of each and every single one of you. I love you all.

Be good. Do good. Year two of HRT begins NOW. <3

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