Why I’m not on testosterone

Or, why I haven’t yet shot myself up with some man.

Disclaimer: I have T-15/20 minutes before the melatonin I took kicks in hardcore, so I hope this is coherent.

I’ve wanted to medically transition since high school, when I found out what “transgender” meant, and what I could do about it. That was about 4 years ago. I could be more or less transitioned right now, but not a drop of T has entered my body.


I chose instead to continue competing in the women’s division for collegiate running. It was a decision that almost drove me insane. Some who know me would argue that it did. Not even finished with my freshman year, I walked into my advisor’s office and asked for a letter of rec for entrance to another university. I came out to her in explanation, and she helped me get a full ride scholarship at said university. After much distraught deliberation, I ended up staying where I was, for many reasons. I came out to others (including my coach!) that fall.

I’m a senior now, and with only one year (~11 months) left, I find myself thinking back on it all. I stopped blogging/writing much because it was painful and frustrating to even think about sometimes. I tried to stop thinking about it so much. Tried. It’s nearly impossible to think about anything else when every time you look in the mirror you feel like throwing up. When every time someone talks about you they stab you with pronoun knives. When you don’t have the courage to pop a squat in the guy’s restroom, but people stare and/or run out when you use the women’s. The hardest part is feeling trapped, stuck, and knowing you did that to yourself. Pulled in so many directions because the situation fucking sucks and you’re enjoying the hell out of college anyway.

If I could go back, I wouldn’t change anything except maybe come out sooner, especially to my parents. It’s been rough for sure, but undeniably beautiful. I never could have imagined finding so much support and acceptance. Between the professors here, my advisor, my coach, teammates and their parents, roommates, administration, classmates, friends.. I’ve found family here.

I’ve also found myself. I’ve found the strength to truly be myself when everyone is telling me I’me something else. I used to worry that I wasn’t trans enough when I stopped wanting to bash my head into a wall every time someone used she. It really just meant that I’ve found confidence and validation from within. I don’t need T to make me who I’ll grow to be any more than the estrogen coursing through me defines who I am now.

That is what will get me through this next year.


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Back on the blogging bus

I’m a wreck, and I need to get it together. I haven’t written in forever, and I think that’s a big part of it. My head is so mixed up that I don’t even know where to start. I guess I’ll start by trying to figure out how I got here.

This track season wasn’t the best. I came off of a really good cross country season (A few races around 18:30-19 min) and was hoping to do really well in track. Long story short, got injured and only raced a few times the last few weeks of the season, missing qualifying for nationals by 4 seconds. It was okay, I regrouped and focused on training for the summer.

I’m in Switzerland for the summer, and kind of got carried away the first couple weeks I was here. I may or may not have run a mountainous half-marathon. I may or may not have won with a pretty good time. And I may or may not have royally rucked up my Achilles in the process. So I took some time off and cross trained and dropped my mileage. It’s stressing me out right now because I should be at 60-70 miles per week, but I’m not. But it’s more important to be healthy, so I dropped off for a week, ran 27 the next week and I hit 40 this week. It’s good progress, but I’m paying really close attention to my Achilles.

Since I dropped my mileage so much I started cross training and lifting more weights. I also started following a bit stricter diet (higher protein, less crap). In theory, it would be fine, seeing as I have a goal weight for the fall when XC starts up again. In theory. In reality, I started binge-eating because my body was craving more something, and then I started eating when I wasn’t even hungry. And now I just feel like shit and even more stressed.

I also have dermatillomania. Wow, I’ve never actually said/wrote that before. It fucking sucks. I’ve been picking since I was about 10-11 (about the time I started struggling with being trans) and I loathe how out of control it makes me feel. I tried again and again to stop these last two weeks and the harder I try the worse it gets. It feels like I’ll never be able to get control of it, but I’m determined.

Today, I was laying in bed, feeling puffy from too much salt (I had two lbs of trail mix in two days :/ ), bloated from too much everything, and my face looked (still looks) like a train/lawn aeration device ran over it. I thought, Transiteration, you’re a disaster. You’ve got to get it together.

So this is where I’m at. I realize that I need to start blogging, and not for anyone but me.  I’m going to write crazy stuff, boring stuff, weird stuff, any kind of stuff, and that’s that. Half of the time it’s probably not going to make any sense. But I need to get it out because it’s eating me from the inside. Working abroad for the summer makes everything a bit lonelier and harder to deal with. I gotta take care of myself.

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The needle: silver, gleaming,
tapering down to nothing,
a tiny funnel for gold
sliding into my leg.

I can feel it!
a tickle in my throat
a lower voice
a few tufts
fall from my head,
I don't mind a new hairline.
My muscles strengthen,
my shoulders widen
suddenly everything is lighter.
fat moves, smaller hips
making a little tummy
that I will run off tomorrow.
My face changes,
slightly but enough.

I look in the mirror,
finally seeing myself
for the first time.

I imagine this

everyday for another
two years.

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Filed under poetry, trans/lgbt stuff

New year, new semester

Disclaimer: I’m definitely a nerd. I really love school.

For me, the year starts with a bang. Practice, work, classes, groups all starting on the same day, which makes me grateful for the three day weekend.

I e-mailed professors ahead of time about pronouns again. I try not to be in people’s faces about who I am, but it if I want to be called the right pronouns, I have to vocalize it. Both professors were good about it. A couple professors I’ve had before misgendered me in the first couple days. It’s frustrating, but with one prof, I know she doesn’t mean to, she just has trouble with it and is sorry about it after. At least she doesn’t make a big deal in class, which is good. The other prof kind of hurt because he went the entire last semester without misgendering me at all. Actually I think he went the whole semester without gendering me at all, period, haha. In the end it’s okay because I know they are both supportive.

Another one of my professors was awesome about it. I’ve had him before for two classes. In the first, neither of us really knew how to address it since I knew most of the people in that class. The second class, he just used the right pronouns, and one kid in the class thought I was a cisguy for a couple months. This class is even better! On the first day he used the right pronoun, and commented that there were almost all guys in the class before the two girls joined. It was an incredible way to nudge people’s perceptions along and I’m really excited to have a possibility at being stealth in a class. It just feels good to be perceived like I want to be perceived, and it not be a big deal.

I also went to a PFLAG meeting this week and met a lot of parents. They don’t run into youngish transpeople much so it was good to meet them, represent and be there as a resource for their kids. I’m getting in really good shape running and I can tell it helps me pass better. I think it helps calm people down about their kids when they see that transpeople can look “normal” and not be harassed in public. I’m pretty lucky that even though I’m pre-T I never get a second look in public. I think if I work on my voice a bit I’ll generally get gendered right (even if it’s as a 14 y/o boy!)

I feel pretty lucky to have worked for the past 7 years running so I could have a body I feel pretty comfortable in. We started arm weights and core workout so I know that’ll help my confidence too, working on my scrawny bits. I’m thinking about posting pictures of how I dress and progress working out because it’s working out really well. Not sure yet though.

How has your year started?

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Warning: Some language and pessimism.

I’m so frustrated. Why can I have months and months of levelness and WHAM. Upsetness. I was so strong, and it feels like my mental strength has gone down the shitter. And the worst part is, anyone I’ve ever felt comfortable talking about feeling bad to is happy to see me doing so well so I can’t even talk to them about it. I feel like I can’t even talk to anyone. So I find myself reasoning around, trying to figure out how I started slipping and what I can do to stop it.

I think it started when my coach didn’t put me in the half-marathon. I know I could’ve gotten the qualifying standard and quite frankly I’m so jealous of everyone that got to go and qualified.  Apparently the course was relatively flat, wind to the back, overall downhill, the works. I’m not totally sure why my coach didn’t put me in and I’m not going to ask.

It probably continued when my roommate threw a birthday get-together for me (very nice of her) and only a few people came and then left to go to a party. It made me realize how shitty I am at interacting with people. It kills me that I have this disconnect. I want to interact, but I don’t get the rules. Reading people’s faces is lost on me. Hell, I can’t even remember what people’s faces look like or recognize them if I see them in a different place. If I see someone I won’t know their name of where I know them from unless they have a certain backpack they carry around or unique something. Hairstyle. Glasses. Anything. I just feel like everywhere I walk there’s strangers even though I should know them, so I’ll not know the name of someone I’ve known for months and months. And I don’t know how to read people’s faces. And I don’t know how to project emotions genuinely on my face when I’m talking so they think I have no empathy.

Then the real fork in the cake was tonight when I heard about hanging out with visiting recruits about 3 minutes before it’s happening. Everyone has my phone number. They have no problem using it when they need fucking homework help. It feels like it happens every time, so I start thinking my coach doesn’t want the recruits to meet me because I’m fucking queer and it’s so fucking conservative here that maybe them meeting me will dissuade them from joining the team. So maybe the reason that I found out 5 minutes ahead of time from someone who wasn’t even organizing it kind of suggests I wasn’t really invited to a team function. Maybe my coach told the not to tell me. And I know I’m being paranoid but it still sucks.

I just feel so alone. The worst part is I want to be alone so I shouldn’t even complain that I’ve isolated myself. I don’t have any interest in interacting with people because it’s so stressful. I feel like I have to be doing something like running or studying and people just want to hang out and I don’t get it. I want to be with someone too. I never have and I want to know what it’s like to have someone, but I don’t want anyone to touch me. I can’t stand physical contact, even from my own parents. I don’t know why something that feels good to other people makes me feel sick.

I’m done. I’m done thinking, because that’s what gets me in real trouble. I’ve worked too fucking hard to lose it now, so I’m going to fight against the part of me that’s trying to kill the rest of me. Here goes.

– Who care’s about the half-marathon? You’re training for the steeplechase and you’re going to do damn well at it.

– You beat 19:00 in 3, almost 4 of the races this season. In the 18:30’s? that’s so much better than last year. You’re set to have a good track season.

– People in your life respect you. You’re a youth mentor for group, and a leader of the trans group. Professors respect you, and that is worth more than you need.

-You’re one of the most intelligent, considerate people I know. You’re going to kill it academically these next couple weeks and enjoy working hard on applications and GRE studying over winter break. It will keep you occupied and focused.

-You are focused. You have goals and can achieve them. You don’t need to be the best at everything though. Just keep being yourself and everything will be okay.


Filed under and track, cross country, running

A body behind Barrs

I think in terms of science. I think I even feel in terms of science. Usually I have trouble making connections to humans, but connecting to an idea, theory, thought causes me to stop thinking and start feeling. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced love in the romantic sense; this is the closest I know, so sharing this profound experience is like sharing a deep, hidden part of a relationship. I’m gonna talk science, and 99% of you all are probably going to click away, thinking

Last year I had a class called cell biology. Basically, we studied cells – the tiniest reproducing units of life. Thousands and thousands of proteins, lipids (fats), DNA/RNA, organelles float around each one. More than thousands. There has to be at least millions, maybe billions. I’m not really sure. But the point is there are an unreal number of things in each one, but only a few we can see with a light microscope. Maybe you did the ol’ swab your cheek and see the miracle that is life when you were in high school. For some reason I never had.

Anyway, I took a good hearty scrape of the inside of my mouth with a small wooden stick and slapped it on a microscope slide. I added some dye and waited for the magic to happen.

I looked at my worksheet.

Question 4: Pair with a partner of the opposite sex. What structure is visible in female students’ epithelial cells that is not visible in males’?

Cell Male Female

A Barr body is a darker dot on a mostly translucent field of view. It’s the duplicate X chromosome, condensed to a tiny dark dot and silenced because we only need one to carry out functions.

I stared down the microscope at my own cells, each with their own tiny dark blue dot.

You know, I never really listened to the trolls in the comment section of every trans-related article ever, insisting that chromosomes never change, once an XX, always an XX.

Somehow I had convinced myself that, yeah, maybe my body looks like a female, underneath all the patterned shirts and binders and sweatshirts and just loose enough pants and short hair, but I’m really truly a guy. My body might look female, but it doesn’t feel female. I’m really a guy. I’m sure if I just sequenced my genes everyone would see that I’m a guy. XY, all the way. If I just had the money to do a sequence I could collect the paperwork from the doctor’s office and wave it in everyone’s face. See?? I told you. I’m really a guy. No need to call me “she” anymore! It was all just a bit of misunderstanding on my birth certificate. Yeah, I know, crazy, right? How could they mess something so basic up. And I didn’t even notice it was wrong for so long. But I can get it fixed now, see?

Only I don’t need money to get my genes sequenced. With a toothpick, a piece of glass and a drop of water I can see those second Xs. And if I look long enough I think I can even see them waving, saying “we only made you feel like you had bars on your body so you could be like us, forever stuck to the side of a nucleus.”


Filed under school, trans/lgbt stuff

Ever wondered what it’s like to be transgender?

Imagine being a kid. Your favorite toy is a remote control dump truck, and even though your sister tries tirelessly to bribe you into playing Barbie’s, you gravitate towards the huge diverse bin of legos. Your birthday party involves Thomas the Train, and your mom whispers in your ear “I know you won’t really like it, but when you open the square-shaped one over there, pretend like you’re thrilled.”  This is not a new phenomenon. You nod, acquiesce, and make sure to profusely thank the parent that gave you a deluxe little-kid hair accessory set. You also begin plans to shoot the hair bands at your sibling from afar. By grade five, you’ve already assumed the characters of Abraham Lincoln and some other important dead guy for school projects and ignore your mother’s polite requests to embody more feminine figures; after all, you came, you saw, and you conquered elementary school.

You’ve realized, by then, that you’re atypical. But it’s elementary school… not that big of a deal, right? So what does being different mean when you grow up?

It means getting a cold, clammy, rush of epinephrine every time you even think about applying for a job. School dances? Public bathrooms? Forget it.

It means hearing “on your mark, ladies” echo louder than the .22 caliber pistol at the starting line of a race, or putting on rank, sweat-stained clothes and muddy, worn-out shoes every day, knowing that you’ve been running for 20 years and there’s absolutely no getting away from this problem.

It means going to a trans group and knowing that at least half of the people in there have tried to take their own lives, and others have made 2 am calls to the suicide hotline. You see people that may as well be orphans because their family is dead to them. Or rather, they are dead to their family.  You see a person whose arms are so trashed with white-hot remnants of self-mutilation that you don’t even want to imagine what it’s like on the other side of zir eyes. You notice on each person’s face a shadow of a constant fight with demons. On the rest of the world – an expression of ignorance transmitting the all-too-clear message that people simply don’t care.

It means waking up, looking in the mirror, and seeing hips the size of Alaska, even when they’re probably just the size of Colorado, and hating your voice not for the load of shite it normally carries, but for the utterly wrong frequency of energy that rolls off your tongue. You wonder why a bunch of adipose tissue and hyaline cartilage in the wrong places can cause your neural pathways and lacrimal glands to go haywire.

It means tasting the salt on your face at night, and wishing all the next day that your contacts didn’t sting so badly. It means being upset and then getting more upset about being upset and trying in vain to hold it all in because Boys Don’t Cry.  It means knowing that you have to live like that every day for at least the next two and a half years, until some therapist deems you not crazy (or maybe crazy enough) to shoot yourself up with some man.

It means being called by anything from he/she, it, tranny… and recognizing the rest of the world can tell you what you look like, sound like, feel like, and even smell like, but they will never be able to tell you who you are because that part of you just is.


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