Friday morning will always roll around. My mind awakes before the alarm. I take a deep breath in and out. As I rise, the dogs circle around me, ready to start the day. I walk across the floor, take a look back at my partner letting her sleep a few minutes longer. As I walk, the cool tiles brush against my bare feet. I gather my supplies, in my mind repeating, “one syringe, two needles, two alcohol pads, one Band-Aid, and a vial of testosterone.” On this day, week after week, I determine my body’s future with something that will continue to help me grow and change physically. A medicine, vitamin, drug.
Rituals can become habit, but this will be a cherished one for the rest of my life. Having the strength to take this step was one thing; owning my destiny was another step that took awhile to evolve. Testosterone. It was something I wanted, craved, and needed to evolve, but I was scared of it. My identity had taken long to develop. My childhood amnesia kept my thoughts of how I felt hidden. As I explored transition, memories began to seep in causing more harm than good, but I had to do something. Growing older as female wasn’t an option either. Would I let my fears continue to hold me back? No, I had to start my journey.
It began with living as male without medical intervention for five years, solidifying what I felt inside but couldn’t express for the first 20+ years of my life. This gave me a taste of something I wanted more of, but had to find the courage to do so. Medical decisions weren’t my strong suit. I’d spent most of my life avoiding doctors and decisions about my body.
As I began to walk through life being seen as male, I gained something different; a sense of self, feminism, and community. My goal during this time began to change from finding masculinity to finding myself. I had to find ways to accept myself for me. I had to find comfort in my gender and its variances for me. I like deep emotional connections. I talk with my hands, but in my interactions with the world, I was taught that in my work and society those were ‘female’ traits. Throwing away those expectations, I finally made a decision. It was time to take a medical step.
Questions raced as I worried about money, safety, and security in my everyday interactions. Pushing through these anxieties, I knew that these feelings meant for that I needed to keep going. With hard work, I would be able to attain what I needed no matter how hard it was in the process.
Testosterone was my third step. Needles. This thought raced through my mind over and over. I constantly worried about how could I put a needle in myself. My turn to face this decision came one fall day in October. Excitement, anxiety, and a sense of finally becoming a person rather than an observer of life overcame me like a tree falling and spreading its seeds, eventually creating new life. I knew that there were other options of testosterone delivery, but shots were the most accessible and best option for me. With support from a nurse, they gave me the bullet of a testosterone that I will be reliant on for the rest of my life.
Needles. This thought continued to haunt me as I approached 8 months of this weekly ritual. I hadn’t successfully administered this therapy for myself yet. I took a hiatus from the needles and switched to extended release pellets for a year, but it turned out not to be a method I couldn’t sustain.
Another Friday morning rolled around again. I could feel the last of the implanted drug dissolving. A decision needed to be made. I wrestled with myself to find a way to own this aspect of my journey. This time, I accepted the challenge. That Friday, one and a half years later, I walked into the medical office and said to a nurse, “I’m going to give myself the shot today.”
Since that day, Friday morning has forever changed. I try to visualize my routine the night before setting it in my mind – “here’s what you’ll do when you wake up.” After shutting the door to the bathroom to keep the dogs out, I follow the steps to a T how to draw up my medicine. While I sit on the edge of the toilet, my partner comes in and helps me pull back my skin. I take a deep breath and push the needle in. Pulling it out, I feel a sense of relief – it’s over and I’ll feel myself this week.
I began to own my destiny and take control of this aspect of my life. There’s a tiny bit of anxiousness that will always be there, but the feeling of being alive and myself that comes with it trumps the anxiety. I am owning my destiny and, with that came with the evolution of acceptance of myself and in owning the needle.
This was previously published in the literary journal- The Outrider Review with Scout Publishing.