My skin was actually the first thing that changed – and did so relatively quickly. As I say, it got less greasy real quick – to the point where it dries out easily. So easily in fact that if I have not moisturised my legs and arms within the last two days I get major, major itching occurring as my skin dries. I always thought females were crazy, using lotion all the time. Now I get it. It is required. This is one routine I have not quite got used to, but I shall. I also have to stick cream all over my face a lot and especially my eyes. Around my eyes dry out really easily – which leaves the skin sore as heck. Oh – and just so the guys know, you DO need different moisturisers for different areas. My body has one, my face another, one for my hands and a final for my eyes. This is essential for me these days – so folks, do not question your female other half on the amount spent on creams. Essential.
The other thing that has changes about my skin: the softness. It is so much softer. Oh, so beautifully soft – I love it! I noticed this even before I realised I needed regular moisturiser I should point out! I have read that females have thinner skin, and this accounts for the changes in grease and softness somehow. I have no idea of the science behind that but I’ll go with it. Plus, other girls often mention my complexion, that it looks amazing. In truth I never quite understand the term complexion. But apparently, that has changed and is great. I’ll take that.
An odd little extra thing – veins. So if my skin has gotten thinner, you would expect my veins to stand out more, right? Well – they don’t. I used to have really prominent veins on my arms, hands, feet and legs. But it is like my veins are dropping down, into the bulk of the body. I have read this would happen but it is really difficult for me to work out why. On the plus side, it helps these areas look more feminine so it is great. Veins popping out everywhere is a really gross, masculine thing. So I am very pleased about this.
I do wonder whether the reason the veins are less prominent is because they have actually shrunk. I have heard this said, and also discredited. There could be something to it though, as females (on average) have smaller muscles than males and thus i expect would require less blood supplied to them. In my mind, this makes sense. But I am a material scientist, not a biologist so it is only an educated guess.
Wait – so I am saying women have smaller muscles and thus implying that my muscles have shrunk with that last paragraph. Well, yes. I was still climbing for a few months into my transition and I felt my strength going. My arms are now nearly half the width they were and my shoulders, neck and chest muscles have shrunk a lot. My leg muscles too – I have slowed down with cycling and running even though I never stopped doing either. I have had to start carrying less shopping when I buy food as it was getting so heavy. I do not want to get into a feminism debate – but this was something I noticed pretty early. Heck, my tee-shirts all hang off me now and that is not because I have lost upper body fat – I didn’t really have any so it must be muscle! I know there are a bunch of cis-female climbers out there that were always stronger (and way better) than me. But there is a reason why testosterone is banned for female athletes, and why males and females compete in sports separately. Yer. So this became real clear real quick. And my reaction was to take a break from climbing. I love climbing – I really do. And I have not given it up. But, as my body is changing, and so too are my muscles, I figure I should let my body 'reset' a little. So I will start again once I am happy with where I am and then work on building muscle strength with more female muscles. Whilst I am in-between, I think that the reset time is a good idea. But that is just my idea. And I miss climbing – but that time is currently taken with compulsive gym trips, for a similar reason.
The similar reason – body fat. Male and female body fat distribution is different – which should be obvious to anyone that has ever used eyes and seen a male and a female adult. The main differences – well. It hits the belly a lot for men, and somehow fills around the waist. Not really sure where else tbh – I have never had loads. But with women it hits hips, thighs and ass. This is what gives women curves. And so, yes: as you transition the fat redistributes. My ass is bigger than it has ever been and my thighs and hips are starting to expend. This is no bad thing – a female body is, after all, my aim! But how different is it – well my jeans (yes, skinny blacks, obviously) do not fit right any more. Or my sports pants. My ass pulls the pants out and round and everything just twists into the wrong place. It is really noticeable to me – but I refuse to buy new clothes just yet as my body is still changing. Clearly I cannot do this for two years, I will have to start investing in clothes. But for now it is fine. Just a little awkward. Plus, a couple of pairs of pants, the ones I wear the most, were expensive and I want my gosh darn monies worth!
How does this redistribution of fat work? Well, from what I read – and it makes sense to me – you burn off male fat deposits over time. Slowly I should point out, as women have slower metabolisms. (Just the way it is. Men do lose weight easier.) And any new fat goes to the female areas. Cool. Course, that sorta means you need to burn off all the male fat AND eat a load of fatty stuff (and I have started craving fatty foods which is not like me). Hmm. So at present I am trying for the ‘reset’ for fat too. I am dieting and hitting the gym loads to get rid of the fat. So far I can see the middle fat going - which means that I am starting to develop something of a waist! Add this to the increasing ass, hips and thighs and I think my figure is actually getting feminine. To the point that I threw on a figure hugging dress the other day and for the first time my body seemed to work with the shape of it – I didn’t just look like a bloke in a dress. WOOHOO!!!! This is so great. Love it love it love it! Oh – I should point out. I am trying to get rid of the male fat asap before x-mas. Dieting and running like crazy. The reason – to get rid of all my male fat and then pig out over the Christmas holiday to build up those feminine curves!!! (Again, disclaimer. This is my idea and probably never advised by a dietician. But, you know, sod ‘em.)
So with the muscle and fat changes, there are other areas that are affected even though they may not be obvious. Arms are obvious for loosing muscle and legs are the same. You also gain some fat in these areas – allowing them to round out a little and look more feminine. Same with the face: you lose muscle and gain some fat – hopefully creating a more rounded face.
I do feel like my face as changed. It is odd as I know it pretty well - I have had it a long time. I see it every day and it is hard to really judge changes. A friend recently said that is looked less angular and more rounded without me leading him to those terms, and having not seen him for way too long. So I feel that the changes I read about are happening. My complexion, as I say, has changed a little. And, last week I noticed that my lips look bigger. Seriously, just a bit more pouty. Nice. With my hair cut into a female style and my hair line dropping, these things are really bringing my face together. This is why I am obsessed with the idea of getting rid of my beard – it really spoils the look. But I think that once this is done and my hair is coloured I will be close to being able to confuse people even without makeup. Makeup is the final icing. It is amazing the difference that is made with a little of the stuff. Even when I dressed pre-transition it really transformed how I looked. With the changes that are taking place – well – maybe, just maybe I can get away with passing in public. Fingers crossed. Either way, so exciting. And the changes, well, I love them. Little and subtle though they may be. They are amazing and this is all worth it for that! Add to better hair growth, body shape and boobs and, well, I am one very happy girl.
Oh yes. Boobs. Best for last? Well, not really. I have never really been that obsessed with boobs. I have made jokes down the years that one day I will get boobs and never leave the house (the first part of which I was actually serious about folks!). Some girls transition and immediately get surgery, buying a pair of double Ds as soon as possible to prove their femininity. Me, well, I just plan to see what happens. I want to look proportional (with my wide chest and all), and have ‘something’ there. But big boobs do not mean feminine to me. I always checked out a girls hair, then shoes, then figure. Rarely I noticed the ‘rack’, unless it was presented in a hard to miss way of course.
So what happens with boob growth then? Well, just like a teenage girl really. Glands develop behind the nipple (which get bigger) – growing into a hard lump behind and making it hurt like crazy. Yes, hurt like crazy. Ow ow ow. For ages moving too fast or knocking them led to a lot of pain. Seems that 14 year old girls are tough! Now the pain has reduced but I am at the stage where it is harder to hide them under tight gym tops. Also, running causes bouncing. So I have ordered my first sports bra – both to hide them and keep them swinging around (they may be little but they are big enough to hurt!). As for what to expect from them? Well, with most trans-females, especially transitioning in later life, an A or B is probably a guide – but again it depends on the person. They say you can expect a cup size smaller than your female relative but in my case I doubt it will go that far. Actually, I kinda hope it doesn’t… if I get to a decent B I will be really happy. Assuming my mind does not change and I get myself doubles Ds at some point…
But then, I guess that depends on how my mental aspects develop too…