Hey all, how are you finding lockdown this time around? I am overall doing ok, but I’m still struggling a bit, but I am just trying to take things at my own pace and not getting too wrapped up in trying to compete and keep up with what I see other people doing, especially on social media. It’s super easy to compare your life to others and for me personally I can get myself completely lost in another person and just completely abandon who I am because I want to make that other person happy, which that in itself isn’t bad, but losing yourself in the process isn’t great and I also feel guilty about the things I think I SHOULD be doing with my time during lockdown… but ya know most days my focus is on getting through another day, my focus isn’t on the future right now because it is too uncertain.
Having my complete focus on making myself feel safe and comfortable has made other things fall by the way side, which isn’t too good but I can’t do it all. But I do need to find a bit more balance then I have at the moment. I’ve been doing too much sitting around and snoozing and not enough moving around, but its Jan, I find it harder to get motivated to get out anyway because its cold and rainy, however some days I have used that as a bit of an excuse to not bother lol!
So I ordered myself a mini stepper, now I have never been super healthy and fit because of my autoimmune disorder but I was much fitter then I am now before the very first lockdown. Like now I get out of breath putting my boots on which is really bad and I keep getting constipated, I know TMI but I’m here to tell my whole truth and that is partly because I’ve been so lazy regarding cooking different things and I’ve been eating too much sweet stuff, not drinking nearly half of what I usually drink and just not moving a whole lot and all of that has contributed to weight gain and belly issues.
My goal aimed at just loosing weight, I want to get my fitness levels back to where they were before lockdown and in fact probably before I had top surgery nearly 18 months ago now because that’s when the weight started piling on. So hopefully eating a bit better, drinking more water and moving more I will feel so much better over all.
Right now because I keep getting constipated my belly looks like I’m pregnant and that’s partly down to testosterone too as its redistributing fat and muscle, but it does make me feel uncomfortable and doesn’t help with the gender dysphoria. So that’s another big reason I want to try and get healthier.
My goal is to use the mini stepper every day and push myself further each day or every few days, set myself little goals etc as I am quite competitive so I know I can do it.
Keeping up with my walking which is where I get my exercise from has been more difficult during lockdown because I am high risk, shouldn’t really be out or going very far and its had a huge impact on my over all health and mental health so I am really hoping this can help me.
Recently I’ve been really focusing on things that make me feel good, make me feel happy, safe and comforted, especially as here in the UK we’re back in a National lockdown and I’m here on my own dealing with it on my own.
It’s not just lockdown that has made me feel like I need to feel safe and comforted but doing inner work and realising that I didn’t really get what I needed as a child, my parents were emotionally distant and often my emotional needs weren’t met. Food and meal times were often a stressful event as often I was force to eat things I didn’t like and forced to eat even if I wasn’t hungry and that has caused me so many issues over the years and also despite voicing the fact I didn’t feel like I was a girl, I was basically ignored and that led to feeling so much shame, I felt like something was wrong with me and I despised myself, which led to an unstable sense of self, low self esteem, no self worth and it’s been a really long hard road to get where I am now.
So now I am trying to reparent myself and look after my inner boy because he was totally ignored and was made to be hidden and forced to live life as someone he wasn’t. He’s very emotional, sad, angry, still holds some shame and he just wants/needs to few heard and to feel safe and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing and I’m feeling good. The inner boy or little dude as I call him is feeling better but there is still some work to do
Now some of the things little dude craves may seem childish but you know what he is a child! He’s not aware that as a whole person we’ve grown up, he’s still 15, sometimes there’s a much younger part a younger boy.
I remember a time when I was 12 nearly 13 and starting secondary school and mum shamed me into getting rid of a lot of the toys that I really still loved playing with because I was too old and no one else would be playing with toys and everyone would think I was a baby etc. I think it was because she thought I’d struggle to make friends but I did anyway..
Because I wasn’t getting my emotional needs met from my parents I was very connected to my toys and things because they made me feel safe and comforted. But they were taken away from me and I was forced to grow up when I wasn’t ready. I definitely think my emotional maturity was way behind my peers.
Now the things I find comfort, safety and that makes me feel happy are probably viewed as childish things to those who aren’t aware of my process and what I’m doing trying to heal myself but I don’t care, I feel no shame because these things are helping me heal such deep deep wounds and I love my inner child, he’s so much fun and he and I are loving everything I’m doing to feel safe and comforted.
At the moment I’m totally obsessed with squishmallows 😍 which are super soft and squishy plush toys. Also can’t get enough of kinetic sand, there’s something about it that I just can’t explain it’s just so nice to play with. I’ve also got a whole bunch of fidget toys and a chewigem necklace that I love chewing on often when I’m writing or concentrating on something.
All of these things are sensory things which living alone I don’t have much sensory input from another human, no one to hug or cuddle with and that lack of human connection is really hard so I think I’m trying to find that similar feelings from different things. But sensory things also help keep me calm, calms my anxiety down and helps me focus on whatever I’m doing.
I think often we get so wrapped up in what we should and shouldn’t be doing because of how old we are, which to me makes zero sense. But because I was trying to fit in and be the grown up or the perception of what a grown up is that I pushed little dude away and made him hide away again because I thought that all my stuff was childish and I had to grown up now and what a load of bullshit that is! I mean yes I’m 35 nearly 36 and I manage my own place, bills, pets etc but why should that mean I can’t love plush toys or cartoons, why do we have to stop liking those things and having those things just because we’re older? I don’t understand it.
I am no longer influenced by other people, I don’t care if people think it’s silly or I’m too old etc because I know I am healing myself and that’s all that matters. I will continue to buy myself whatever little dude craves to feel safe and loved and do things to keep him calm and relaxed because when he’s calm, I’m calm.
Connect with the inner parts of yourself, listen to them and what they have to say, you’ll be surprised when you start listening and helping them how much better you will feel.
In strange times like these where things are so uncertain, we all need to feel safe and that will look different for everyone. For me it’s being curled up either in bed or on my sofa with blankets, snacks, my squishy’s and fidget toys, hot water bottle, tv and my fur babies, when I’m here I feel so safe and comfortable, it’s definitely making each day easier to get through.
Well I haven’t been writing for a long while, although the notes on my phone are crazy long lol. I just haven’t had the motivation or concentration to sit down and write, so I have lots to catch up on. That’s if I can make sense of some of the things I’ve noted down.
Yesterday marked 10 months since having had top surgery, it has gone crazy fast. I can barely keep up with myself. My scars are looking great and I’m just so happy with the results, areas of my chest still feel a bit numb but its slowly regaining sensation. I still have the occasional nipple twinge where I’m assuming the nerve endings are still growing, that is a super weird feeling.
I still feel quite self conscious when I’m out and about, I still feel like I need a hoody so I can hide my chest. I still feel like people are staring at me, that I don’t ‘pass’ well enough etc and I know that’s just my insecurities and gender dysphoria. I also think its down to the ridiculously high standard that is set for trans men to look a certain way and I certainly do not meet the criteria. The expectation is that all trans men are super buff, work out, have muscles and are super handsome. I am non of those things, I’m short with a chubby body and I don’t work out or have muscles. I am currently in the process of loosing a bit of weight to help with my self esteem, body image and my general physical wellbeing, but I will never be a gym bunny.
I will never look like a lot of trans activists out there, who all work hard and look amazing. But there’s not a lot of representation out there for different body types within the trans masc community and I am no where near brave enough to show my chubby body in all its chubby glory on social media, as I am not strong enough to handle any negative criticism, even though I know it may help others feel seen, right now its not something I can do. But hey maybe one day.
I also think the expectation that once you have surgery that the dysphoria will disappear, I think I was under the illusion that it wouldn’t be an issue anymore. I’ve spent so long not feeling comfortable in my skin, that its going to take a whole lot of self love to even being to love this body of mine. I am so grateful for my body, it keeps me alive but I still don’t love my body enough and I don’t even really know what that looks like, as I’ve spent so long neglecting my mind and body that true self love and acceptance is not something I’ve experienced before and not sure how it looks or how it feels. I feel like I’m only just starting to scratch the surface of this self love stuff, I’ve got so much I need to heal first but I’m still trying.
The 12 weekly testosterone shots are going well, I’m 2 years and 10 months on T now which again has gone crazy fast. Only feels like yesterday that I would have done anything to be on testosterone and now here I am nearly 3 years down the line. There where times where I thought I can’t wait, its taking too long, once I knew who I was finally, waiting for everything was absolute agony it was almost like a physical pain, it was unbearable. I am so glad I held on, things get better eventually.
I much prefer the 12 weekly shot to the 3 weekly as my hormones are more settled and I feel less chaotic, then on the 3 weekly shots. My next one is due on a couple of weeks and I’ve got to get my levels checked to see how my body is reacting to the longer lasting testosterone. My sex drive has only just settled down since my last injection lol, it sucks being single and stuck in lockdown by myself. The first few weeks after my shot I’m super hungry and just want to eat everything and I’m horny as hell too, which is so weird. Before testosterone I had very little sex drive, mainly due to being on the medications I’m on, but now its a different story lol! But unlike the crazy appetite which settles down, the high sex drive seems to last a good 9-10 weeks! But self pleasure is a good pain relief, which I can say is true as I’ve barely had to take any of my usual pain meds recently so its not just an old wives tale.
I recently joined a dating website, which feels so embarrassing to even say… that I just want the ground to swallow me up right now lol! Its called OkCupid, which is a LGBT friendly dating site and that was the main reason for joining that specific one. I decided to join as I’ve on dated one person in the last 7 years and that relationship was exactly long, it lasted all of 6 months and it was my first relationship out as a trans guy.
There’s a few downsides to the website, one being that I am shit and describing myself and bigging myself up or even making myself sound in the slightest bit interesting…so I’ve not had any likes yet lol and I’m too scared to message anyone first as I feel awkward as fuck and I’m so shit and inserting myself into other people’s orbit, as I feel like I’m being instantly annoying.. Shit if I could be invisible but still be seen that would be the best lol. So yeah I don’t think my profile is really anything special, it doesn’t really stand out from anyone else’s.
The second downside is that I keep being matched with lesbians… like WTF! Lesbians want to be with lesbians, they do not want to be with trans men, I mean that would make them bi/straight. So that’s pretty annoying, trying to sift through all these hot lesbians and I feel bad for swiping no, although I don’t think it tells you who rejects you which is good.
So yeah I’m trying to get myself out there but its so fucking hard when all I want to do is disappear because I don’t feel worthy enough to be taking up space on this earth. I’m desperate to be seen and heard but I also want to disappear which is such a confusing paradox. But a lot of it is I have no self worth, self love etc and like I said I wouldn’t even know what that feels like, looks like. I’m so used to feeling like this for most of my life, its hard to imagine ever feeling any different. Maybe one day. I’ve got a lot of trauma to work through.
I know I am a bit late but HAPPY PRIDE MONTH! Always live your truth, no matter how hard your light will eventually shine and you can be a beacon of hope for others out there.
I’ve noticed recently that I go through periods of taking selfies and then long periods of not taking selfies and focusing more on taking pictures of stuff around me.
I love taking pictures so much, looking at life through a lens. It helps me remember what I’ve done and where I’ve been, I just love pictures.
Looking back through my pictures of Facebook, I have loads of pictures of myself, being ridiculous and making stupid faces and just generally being silly! lol.
But since starting testosterone I have less pictures of myself and I think a part of that is still not being happy with my reflection and still not having a connection to the person in the mirror. Which is weird, I would have thought that testosterone and top surgery would lesson that disconnection between myself and my reflection.
Maybe its something that will take time, I’m still learning about myself, who I am, where I fit etc so maybe it just takes time to fuse myself and my reflection.
I’ve spent so many years hating my body, hating how I look. It’s no wonder I don’t recognise/like my reflection. I’ve never felt connected with my reflection, I’ve never felt a connection with myself.
Maybe I need to spend a bit more time looking at myself, so I can learn to love the person looking back.
I think sometimes there’s a lot of expectations put on the physical transition side of things and I’ve just kinda hoped that testosterone and top surgery would just ‘fix’ the low self esteem and gender dysphoria.
Whilst it has definitely improved the dysphoria it hasn’t ‘cured’ it so to speak, I think that comes from learning to love myself and the body I have.
Like I mentioned I’ve spent so many years hating my body, ever since female puberty hit. I hated how my body changed and I hated feeling like I was the only one that didn’t like my body. It was a really lonely time, I felt so odd and just I don’t know its really hard to explain.
I think having a chronic illness has also impacted on the lack of love I have for my body. Because I’ve been ill from such a young age, I felt like I was robbed of the life I wanted and I resented my body for that. I have found peace with that to a degree but I do still struggle with it a bit.
I need to start celebrating my body more, after all it’s got me this far. My body is amazing, I need to start feeling more comfortable in my skin.
It won’t change overnight, but I think it is something I can change and I want to change.
I’m 6 months post op top surgery this week and it still hasn’t sunk in, I am that detached from myself, it’s almost like I know in my brain that I’ve had the surgery and I can see my scars. But I’m still not emotionally connected with it.
For the first few weeks after surgery I felt euphoric on and off but that soon disappeared. I want to feel that again, as that felt amazing.
I have so much self work to still do, so much to unpick and untangle. I’m slowly getting there and I think in the last year I’ve made more progress that I have done in the last 10 years. Which feels a bit overwhelming but also feels good.
I’ll get there eventually, I just need to stop rushing the process and thinking I should be further along that I am.
This Tuesday was my 10 weeks post op, it still seems surreal but it feels so right. Its so hard to explain how it feels to finally have had top surgery, after having spent so many years feeling so uncomfortable with my body, I no longer feel as self conscious about my chest area when I’m out.
I’m still occasionally getting misgendered when I’m out and every time it happens it just feels like another chunk taken from my already low self confidence. I don’t know if its because I’m only 5ft 3 or if its my voice or what, but its soul destroying. Very occasionally I’ll correct someone, but most of the time it just knocks my confidence I just don’t say anything.
Healing side of things is going well, the scars are looking good. I haven’t been covering them with the micropore tape, I am meant to be covering them 4 days a week, just to help them heal and keep them strong. I think I’ve just been enjoying not having to wear a binder, I didn’t really want to wear the tape but I put it over my scars today and I will try and remember to put the micropore tape on my scars at least a few days a week.
The puffiness on the right side is going down slowly, its not as puffy as it was. I still have loads of areas around my chest which are still numb and I’ve been trying to touch those areas every day to wake it up. My skin isn’t as hypersensitive as it was, still sensitive but I can touch my skin without it making me feel weird lol.
I’m still struggling with post surgery blues and anxiety. Everyday is different, some days I feel ok and I’m doing fine but other days all I want to do it just hide away in my flat. Tomorrow morning I meet my (hopefully) new counsellor, just to see if we gel and talk about what I want from the sessions etc. I feel like I’m going to get more from private counselling then the mental health team.
I’m doing my best to take responsibility of my journey and moving forward and just my life. Its super hard and exhausting and I’m trying not to beat myself up too much about not being where I think I should be in life and just trying to remember I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.
^ 10 week post op pics
I’m still struggling with my fatigue, this week I’ve slept in the afternoon a few times and have gone to bed pretty early a few evenings because I’ve been so exhausted. The weather has been pretty grey which I don’t think has helped a whole lot. But again its a case of self care/self love and just trying my best to listen to what my body wants/needs.
Something I’ve not done in a while, been too caught up with the negative stuff in my head, I forgot to love and take care of myself. Trying my best to get back on track.
I also did something that was huge for me this week… I asked for help and close friends will know this, it’s something I do very rarely and avoid where possible.
But in August I’m finally getting top surgery done 🙂 and I’m going to need help during recovery from more then one person. As it’s a lot to ask from one person, so I was brave and created a group chat. I was so scared that I would be rejected and everyone would be too busy to help but to my surprise everyone was just amazing and everyone was so happy for me and more then happy to help.
It’s such a huge relief to know I have people around me that love and care for me. I always knew I had friends but I’d convinced myself I wasn’t good enough to have real friends and eventually if you tell yourself something long enough you believe it.
I need to work on my self esteem and self worth, this is definitely going to help 🙂 I’m not as lonely as I thought I was.
I’m going to try and trust more and open my heart more. I’m always standing in the way of myself, I need to move out of my way.