A day in the life of a trans guy

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.

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a Trans guy

Time is flying by super fast, I am now 2 years and 8 months on testosterone and 8 month post op top surgery. It feels like I spent an eternity waiting and waiting to start testosterone and have top surgery and now that’s all a reality, which sometimes still feels unreal but I feel so blessed and so grateful that I’ve been able to be living my life as my true self.

I’ve spent so much of my life not liking myself, especially certain parts of my body, its hard to start loving myself again. It’s all a continuous journey and I’m trying to love my body again, after all it’s served me well over the last 35 years, it doesn’t work as well as it could do, but I am still alive, despite the years I’ve spent not looking after my body.

Unfortunately because of the current pandemic the appointment for my second yes for lower surgery has been delayed, which is super frustrating as I am becoming more aware of the dysphoria I have around that area. But I am trying to remain grateful for where I am right now in my transition, as the dysphoria I experienced around my chest was just unbearable and made life so miserable. I was so self conscious of my body all the time, I couldn’t relax or even be myself.

I’m still trying to find my authentic self, who I truly am on the inside, still trying to keep on speaking my truth but some days its so hard. I struggle to connect with my emotions, I’m always worried about being myself as that hasn’t won me friends in the past but I can’t blame that all on myself. I know I’m not perfect but I’m not a bad person, I always try my best but for some its not good enough. I think because of this I struggle to connect with myself and feel my emotions as I’ve been conditioned to think that my emotions are bad because they can be intense at times. Unlearning all that is really hard, especially at the moment with the social isolation and the strange situation we’re all in.

Well that’s it for now,

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy

Where do I even start, I’ve been really struggling with this lockdown in many ways but gender dysphoria has been difficult, as I’ve got more time to sit around thinking about it and also certain experiences I’ve had hasn’t helped.

I’ve been out as male for a little over 5 years, I’m 2.7 years on testosterone and 7 months post op top surgery and I still feel like I am viewed as female, not only by strangers but also by friends who knew me pre transition.

Last week I was out walking the dogs and a creepy older guy stopped ahead of me and I think he did that on purpose so he could talk to me, he then continued to refer to me as my dogs mum. I was wearing jeans, hoodie, baseball cap and boots. I don’t think that in anyway did I look female. It really made me angry and sad, I know I’m only 5ft 3 but I don’t think I look like a female. I don’t know… It really fucking sucks.

Also in my mums infinite wisdom (although it came from a good place) made a family group whatsapp group and they decided to share pictures of each other when we were young. Which I wouldn’t usually mind but it wasn’t in my control and my transition isn’t even acknowledged or even talked about. It’s just ignored like its not even happening. Which makes me feel invisible, like I don’t even exist as myself. It only took a week for my brother to push my buttons and piss me off so I left the group. He’s exactly why I’ve not spoken to him for over a year, he’s such a prick!

Then a well meaning friend added me to an all girl group chat for a group video call. I left that group and messaged her to say that I’m not a girl and wouldn’t feel comfortable and her reply was I was the only boy invited but she understood. Which it really doesn’t feel like it, otherwise I wouldn’t have been invited in the first place.

I’m so sick of being invited to girly things and being tagged in stuff especially for woman etc, every time it happens it breaks a small part of me inside. I feel like I’m still being viewed as female and it fucking sucks! I am not female and I never was!

Not being seen as myself is so fucking invalidating, it makes me feel like the me I know I am doesn’t exist as people just aren’t willing to see it. I don’t think people realise how painful it is, even if something is well meant.

Like I said lockdown has been rough, being sat with my own thoughts is hard. I’ve been struggling with gender dysphoria, which I thought would go away, after top surgery.

For so long I was so focused of getting top surgery, I didn’t really have huge lower dysphoria although I knew I wanted lower surgery. But now that focus has shifted from top surgery, I’ve realised I have lower dysphoria, I don’t hate my female parts but I don’t connect with it and I think it is starting to cause a bit of unconscious distress.

The more I think about it all the more I want surgery, so I can just move forward with my life and hopefully it will help me feel complete. But my appointment for my second yes for lower surgery is obviously postponed at the moment due to the virus, which is frustrating.

I hope one day I’ll be seen as myself and I’ll feel comfortable in my skin.

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a Trans guy

So just a quick update really as I don’t have a whole lot to say regarding my transition. As at the moment it feels like it’s on pause.

20/3/2020 marked 7 months post op top surgery! Which is cool but as I’ve spoken about over and over, I still feel that lack of connection with my chest and body in general. So whilst I’m extremely grateful that I was lucky enough to have the surgery, I don’t feel the happiness I thought I would feel. Maybe I put too much expectations of surgery making everything better.

Now we’re in this quarantine times, I intend to try and slow down and connect with my innermost self and really trust myself and learn to love myself unconditionally. Maybe this will help ease the dysphoria and help with the connection. I need to lose weight too as that definitely isn’t helping. But I feel stuck inside myself, I can’t move.

I intend to look after myself better because I deserve it.

Here are some pictures of my chest 7 months after life changing, life saving surgery

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy – 6 months post top surgery.

Time is flying by faster then I can keep up with, it’s just crazy. But today marks 6 months since I had top surgery.

I’m slowly starting to connect with my chest and slowly starting to realise that I’ve finally had this life changing, life saving surgery that I’ve been wanting since puberty.

Still struggling a bit with the gender dysphoria and recognising myself but I think its a natural part of being trans.

I don’t think I look at my chest enough, I don’t look at myself and appreciate my new body. I think I was focused on recovering from surgery and it going well without any complications that I wasn’t really present and I was pretty lonely during recovery as well, so I didn’t have anyone around to be excited about surgery with and to share it with.

Looking back at leading up to surgery and after surgery I was kinda disconnected from it and as I’m used to being in hospitals and I’ve had lots of minor surgeries before, I just kinda treated it like any other procedure I’ve had to go through. I was really excited on the day of surgery and just after but it didn’t last very long. I just came at it like something I had to go through and I do feel sad now that I was that disconnected, I feel sad that I didn’t have anyone close to share the excitement with, I feel sad that I had no support during the recovery period, I felt quite let down.

I’ve felt quite lonely during my transition, despite friends being supportive and being happy for me. Apart from 1 appointment last year and the friends who took me to appointments before surgery, who took me there, took me home and took me to follow up appointments, I’ve spent the last 4 years going to appointments alone. It’s something that still makes me feel really sad, more then I think people know. As its not something I really express as it can’t be changed now.

But moving forward, I know I need to try and spend more time looking at my chest and touching my chest, so my brain starts making that connection with my new body. I think when it starts getting warmer and I spend more time walking around the flat topless, that will also help as well.

I’m still really happy with the results and how well my scars look and I’m super grateful to have been able to have this surgery done. I do feel better for having it done, just its such a huge emotional experience and as I am a super sensitive person, I’m sure its something that will take me a while to process.

Here are pictures from today.

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy – Gender Dysphoria

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.

I am perfect and exactly where I am meant to be.

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy – How I prepared for top surgery.

I thought it might be helpful to write about how I prepared for top surgery, as I don’t think there’s enough information out there about it. There’s lots on the surgery itself and not much about post surgery, especially if you don’t have family to support you.

As soon as I got my date for surgery, I wrote a list a big list of everything I thought I would need and what I would need to do running up to surgery. I’m a bit of a control freak, so I’m pretty good and planning and organising myself and being over-prepared.

I also have 2 cats and 2 dogs, who are my absolute world so I needed to make sure not only was I prepared but they were also going to be cared for and had everything they needed.

LISTS! cannot express enough about how helpful lists are and also feels great when you finally get stuff ticked off. Plus they are a great visual aid to see how much you need to get and for me its just a great way to help organise my brain and figure out when I need to get things and in what order.

I belong to a great facebook group called TMSA social and support, they have two separate groups. They have files for surgeons which is where I picked mine from and everyone is super friendly and were so helpful when I asked for advice about what I needed post op top surgery. Highly recommend this group.

So here is what I bought and organised for top surgery pre and post op.

One of the hardest things was asking for help, I created a FB group chat with friends asking for help, I needed a lift to my pre op appointment and back, then a lift to hospital for surgery and a lift home again. I needed someone to stay at my house and look after my fur babies. I needed people to come over and help me take the dogs out, help with housework etc.

Everyone was amazing I got the support I needed, which was amazing. I had friends who took me back and forth to the hospital for my pre op appointment, surgery itself, post surgery and post surgery check up appointments. I also had friends stay at my flat and look after my fur babies, who had the best time.

Unfortunately I didn’t really have the support once I was back home, which sucked but I managed. I did have a couple of friends who came over and cooked for me, which was great but I was hoping for a little more help. Maybe I expected a bit too much, but I’ve made my peace with this all now.

I bought myself a amazon fire tablet, heaphones and microSD card, so I could download films to watch while I was in hospitals. I’m glad I bought it, it came in real useful, I watched quite a lot of films.

After surgery you aren’t allowed to shower for a while, so I bought some Clinitex body wipes from amazon and man am I so glad I did they were amazing, they made me feel pretty clean. I definitely recommend them.

I bought slippers and a dressing gown but I didn’t actually end up needing them, as they were provided but if in your paperwork they suggest them I’d buy them just in case, that’s if you don’t already own them.

I bought 2XL vest tops to wear after surgery, as it was in August and they were easy to slip on and off. I wore zipped hoodies as they were easy to get on and off too, as after you have limited movement in your arms for a few weeks. I bought the vest tops from Primark as they were only £2 each.

I am on lots of different prescribed medications and over the counter medications. I asked my GP for 2 months worth of all my meds so I didn’t have to worry to much about them and then I made sure I had enough of my over the counter medications, paracetamol, sinus rinse and vitamins.

I am on a key meter for my electric, so over the weeks running up to surgery I kept adding more then I usually put on my electric, so I knew I would be covered, same with my rent, I made sure I put extra money on my rent too.

I stocked up on basic household stuff, toilet rolls, washing up liquids, you know the boring adult household stuffs lol!

(NOTE I did a lot of stocking up no stuff! lol)

I stocked up on dog/cat food, cat litter, poop bags, treats.. again general stuff I would normally get to care for my gorgeous fur babies.

As I had a few friends stay over, I made labels for all the cupboards so it was easy for them to find stuff. I also made a list of instructions for the fur babies and just general information…yeah I said I was a bit of a control freak, which stems from anxiety.

I love my incense sticks and candles so I made sure I had them in.

I have a battery pack I took to charge my phone at tablet whilst I was in hospital, I made sure that was fully charged the day before I had surgery.

I made sure I had snacks, drinks and easy to make food in the flat. I mainly ate snacks and takeaways lol!

I bought these great hydration tablets O.R.S hydration tablets from amazon, they were great and I still use them now, especially for days I don’t drink enough.

These last few things were probably the most helpful of all.

So after surgery you aren’t meant to lay flat for a while, so I bought two V shaped pillows, two regular pillows and a memory foam neck pillow.

The neck pillow came in handy whilst I was in hospital after surgery, I used it when I was sleeping and it made the whole experience more comfortable.

The V pillows and two other pillows were great for when I was at home recovering, I spent 4/5 weeks sleeping on the sofa, as it was just the most comfortable place for me.

I honestly can’t say enough at how much those 3 particular pillows helped so much.

So for me that was is really, I’m pretty good at self care and looking after myself, so that part wasn’t too hard.

I couldn’t have done it without spending months of organising and planning, without the people who helped me.

If you’ve found this helpful, please feel free to share and use this as a guide to going through top surgery.

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy – Swimming!

On Friday I went swimming for the first time in like 6/7 years and the first time since top surgery. I felt super anxious beforehand, not just because its the first time swimming in just swim shorts but also because I was self conscious about doughy, flabby body. So the thought of walking into the swimming pool in just shorts with no t-shirt to hide behind was pretty terrifying. But I was with a friend and the pool was pretty quiet and I did it!

The swimming pool we went to was so cool, I used to go all the time as a kid. They have unisex changing rooms and family changing rooms and they always have. And that’s part of the reason I chose to go to the particular pool. They also have a slide, rapids and a jacuzzi which is awesome.

We got changed and I actually didn’t feel as self conscious as I thought I would. I was more excited about swimming to worry about how I felt and I think going with a trusted friend helped a lot.

As soon as I got in the water I felt at home, I love the water so so much.

At first I kinda forgot how to swim, I was splashing about like a fish! But I soon got the hang of it again and it was like I’d been swimming for ages. I love swimming so so much and its something I’ve really missed doing. If my local pool wasn’t so freezing I’d probably go more often. We had fun swimming and splashing about, going on the slide and the rapids.

I could have stayed in there all day, I love being in the water so much. I can’t wait for the summer so I can go swim in the sea with my dog Scrappy.

Swimming for the first time since top surgery and since starting my transition was a huge moment for me and one I won’t forget. It felt so nice to be just in shorts and to feel the water all over my skin, plus I got to show off my awesome back tattoo.

Trying on my swim shorts!

I’m sure I’ll be swimming again soon

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a trans guy – 10 weeks post op

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.

That’s all for now,

Peace out

Zak

A day in the life of a Trans guy – 7 weeks post op Top Surgery

These past 7 weeks have gone so quickly, my head and emotions still haven’t quite caught up with everything yet, I’m just trying to take it easy and be kind to myself.

The one thing no one tells you about post top surgery is that you no longer have two bags of fat on your chest keeping you warm! I’ve been going out in what I would normally wear for certain temperatures and I’ve been really cold, that’s going to take a while getting used too.

Also when getting dressed, I feel like I’m missing something because I no longer have to wear a binder/bra under my tops, so that feels pretty weird, feel kinda naked lol!

But I am loving the fact that my clothes all fit better and I don’t feel so stressed out while getting dressed because nothing looks or feels right. Now clothes sit properly and feel good, I look forward to getting dressed now, rather then it being a stressful event.

I went and had a massage on Monday, as after wearing that compression binder for nearly 6 weeks my back was so tense and stiff, I knew I needed a massage to help loosen my body up again. Plus a little self care goes a long way. It was so good! my shoulders were so knotty and I was so tense in so many places, I felt great afterwards, it was very much needed. I decided to have one once a month, as I think it will do me good in many ways.

I’ve spent a lot of time not being connected to my body and I still don’t feel quite connected with myself, so I think having a regular massage will help me feel more connected to my body and myself in general.

Now I’ve had surgery, I feel like I want to look after myself and my body better, although it all feels a bit overwhelming right now, so I’m just starting slowly. I’m still getting pretty exhausted most days, so its going to take a while to build myself back up. I think starting with having a monthly massage, will help set me on the right road.

7 Weeks Post op Top Surgery

I bought some Bio oil today to put on my scars and help heal these scars up. My body sometimes over heals and my scars turn out bumpy.

That’s all for now,

Peace out

Zak