Politeness to balance the testy

About a week has passed since cessation of HRT, and some stronger effects of my shifting biochemistry are being felt. There are positive emotions and difficult ones, too; but I find I’ve learned a few skills over the past couple years that are likely to help me adapt.

Working in customer service in a retail environment has honed my patience, and I use that to cut through the aggravation I’ve been experiencing. But first some positives! My motivation has increased measurably, my energy at a constant high state. Unfortunately, I haven’t felt the need to eat much lately, what with the high energy. Libido is definitely increasing with ups and starts, and seems to be generated from deep within because the visceral, full-body sexual attraction has yet to fully express itself through the catalyst of my male genitalia. Or is waiting for the right stimuli.

Now to the negatives. Testiness. Really, that’s the best word for it. My testicles are waking up, and it’s fucking obvious at this point, and now I just feel pissed off at nothing and everything at completely random times.

No, this is not a new thing. I have thousands of memories of that mood. However, I am experiencing it in a different way this time – coming back to it after a long break. Since starting HRT, the calm I felt served to strengthen my patience. Socially transitioning five months before even starting HRT, in a retail environment, in the American South, taught me quite a lot about humility and confidence. The secret is, they go together.

So when I feel these intrusive emotions that I remember having a particular and negative reaction to my entire post-puberty life, I instead choose a different reaction. Nippin’ that shit in the bud. Start this at the onset, and use this one and only opportunity to modify my emotional programming. Make healthy response to these emotions a habit – this is a chance I never had before.

When I started “passing,” I experienced some aspects of social misogyny that acted as a sort of mirror – I was able to see the similarities between how men started to treat me, and ways that I had interacted with women in the past. I became aware that I did indeed interrupt women more than men, that I had other subtle expressions of male socialization which resulted in me being, basically, a dick.

Further experience as a sortof-passing transwoman taught me even more reasons to fear other men.

This isn’t something I’m likely to forget.

Segue into an incident that occurred last night in the men’s locker room: went to Planet Fitness (because I know they can’t do shit to me) and started putting stuff into the locker I chose in the corner. Being obsequious and small, avoiding notice. I hear “ma’am, ma’am, ma’am…”

My headspace had received a chill mellow, so I wasn’t feeling the whole “answering to random strangers” thing. I’m just here to change. So, he stands behind me and says it and I can’t ignore him anymore, so I turn around and he says, just as politely as he can,

“Ma’am, so you know there’s a female changing room you can use…”

“I’m not a woman,” I say lightly.

“Oh! I’m sorry!”

“Oh, it’s no problem, it happens all the time!” I laugh gently, nervously.

My hands are shaking slightly. I turn around and start to undress. I hear male voices talking somewhat hushed, but clearly audible.

“…I didn’t see a package…”

“…probably has it tucked away…”

Chuckles, no hatred I can detect, simply laughter at me for being one of those odd freaks you encounter occasionally, and pity and ridicule for amusement. C’mon, do it…it’s fun.

After getting dressed in my workout clothes, I walk to the toilet and hear a few more voices from men who just walked in: “is there a girl in here?”…”hahaha whatever, man”…

Nothing happened, though. The reactions I received are ones I’ve fully expected, given a realistic view of my situation. This was the first time I’ve been confronted by a man questioning my right to be in male sex-segregated spaces. I responded with lightheartedness, and this served me well.

By choosing to respond in a decidedly non male-socialized way to confrontations by other men, I think I can both avoid physical conflict and possibly have a chance to alter some men’s thinking on gender itself – on what a man is supposed to be.

Just in case though, I’ve started using my newfound physical goddamn this feels powerful to re-train my body in the martial arts techniques I still know, but have not been practicing. The intention of doing so is not to be able to hurt people who attack me more, but rather to be skillful enough to hurt them less, while also preventing them from hurting me.

One step at a time, though.

All in all a relatively eventful first week of retransition.

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Author: Miriam Afloat

Floating on a sea of bitterness.

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