Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fear, Hormones and Love

A  friend of mine of about four years posed the following questions, and I would like to share my answers with you while keeping her anonymous.

  • How does one get rid of the feeling of fear that one or more person could cause hateful, violent acts against ones self?

  • Can I ask what can I look forward to in the second year of hormones? I am at times thinking about a guy wanting me for the girl that I am. A loving and caring person who wants to take care of me; for me I would like to touch and love him with all my being. For me this sounds like a dream but this is how I feel. Is this real or is this hormones?

    What can you look forward to emotionally during your second year of hormones? I can't tell you, because I presume hormones affect us all differently. For me, I found about halfway through the second year that I desperately craved touch. I also found myself becoming more comfortable with the person I knew I was meant to be. Anxiety never completely goes away, but hearing Ma'am made me feel validated--and frustrated when people called me Sir.

    I had lost significantly the adrenaline rushes necessary to physically fight my way out of situations that my loving to be touched got me into. The adrenaline went to the emotional center of my brain where I would try to befriend, persuade or belittle an abuser. Instead of punching, I would argue and lie, if necessary, to get out of a situation where I was in danger of being taken advantage of.

    In my third year of hormones, I dream of gentle sex with men and love kissing and caressing women. As a man, I could never feel comfortable with another man. But as a woman, I am aroused by gently assertive, intelligent men and vivacious women. I have a special affinity for gender variant natal women. And I want to cuddle. I want someone there with me, who will gently stroke me when I'm feeling down.

    Did the hormones change my sexual orientation? Quite likely not. I knew since I was a teenager that I was attracted to different people based on the gender role I had in my mind. I have always been someone who enjoyed sensual play more than penetration. For me, the hormones aided the intensification of something that was already innate and passionate encounters with a beautiful woman can still trigger a butch response, while I will simply melt for someone slightly butch.

    How does one overcome the fear of violence? The same way they approach any fear, by taking gradual steps and observing the results. A little anxiety is a good thing. It is a reminder to be cautious and what to look out for. It generates a sense of hyper-vigilance that can protect from immediate threats. But if the hyper-vigilance goes on too long, it takes its toll on your body and your piece of mind.

    As your planning to come out, it helps if you stage it. Surround yourself with friends when you can, and observe. Learn from your mistakes. Avoid places where you feel you may become a target. When fears didn't materialize and people envisioned and respected me as a woman, many of my fears were replaced with confidence. I am still afraid to be alone with a strange male, and I feel it is something that is keeping me out of trouble.

    I respect my fears. I use them as a motivator to action, to address them so I can be happy and safe. In the case of strange men, I would arrange to get to know them online and in public places, wary of any sexual advances before I felt respected. I would address the fear of being beaten by letting them know in a safe place or at a safe distance at the earliest point when it appears that my history or it's physical remnants may become an issue. I remind myself there are good men out there who would honor me. And there are, just like there's jerks.

    Trans people are often lonely when they keep themselves in an emotional closet, still not willing to express their feelings to other people they are interested in or by trying to distance themselves from the trans community. How can you have friends when you distance yourself from those who can best understand you and you are afraid to be emotionally open with someone who may not?

    Trans people often make friends and fall in love within the trans community or on the fringes. Often, they are active and supportive. They approach life full of the love that is overflowing in them. They meet like-minded people doing like-minded things, mostly at social organizations and events.

    And one more thing, smile with the confidence you know you'll soon have. It's a prerequisite to passing. Nobody likes a frump.

    Hugs and God Bless,

    1 comment:

    1. I admire the way you approach life as Sophie. I believe that your personality and character strengths were always there with you since your first days as a toddler. Our character traits of compassion, love, gentleness, compassion, comforting, motherly caring is and was always a part your person. As we physical and emotional lives are reshaped by the amounts of hormones those traits are redirected and refocused by the estrogen that is overcoming the effects of so many years of have testosterone as the primary drug.

      As someone who is 5 years into my live as Sarah without hormones, I can say that life is great in the absence of any benefits of hormone therapy. So I can say that all the changes, physical that is, still happened without testosterone or estrogen; that is not using any HRT. But being able to develop and grow without the gonads and the testosterone they produced helped a great deal.

      Relationships develop if your soulmate, or true love, or whatever you call it can flourish and thrive because we work at building new relationships on trust, and communication and respect and genuine love for each other. And when that can happen freely and without anxieties, that when we are free to seek the acquaintances we need for social contacts and development.

      So yes, hormones are important for us and our transition, but we can transition without hormones also.