Thursday, 15 January 2015

Changes, mental pt 1 – just how different female brains are

So. The mental changes. WOW! They really are, um, mental! Seriously. It is hard to believe. As I discussed with the physical changes it is really hard to imagine just how strong and clear the differences mentally are. This I will split into two parts: The first, the differences I have noticed between before hormones and after, i.e. ‘male’ and ‘female’ brains from a trans point of view. The second; the psychological relief of finally transitioning, accepting it and coming out.

Ok. So let’s start with the changes that would seem to be a shift towards a female mind set and not just the psychological result of transition which I will discuss next. Er, these are my thoughts. I have read a lot, been through bunches of YouTube videos of m2f and f2m folk who have transitioned. I will never be a cis-female so I can never say for sure whether what I experience is the same as a cis-female or not. But I chat to friends and I think I am in a similar ball park at least. I come to these ideas from a point of cynicism. What I mean is, I read or watch these transition stories. And the mental changes sound like what you would expect as a kind of trope for cis-women. Stereotypes. Like they are saying what they want to believe. It is hard to imagine that a few chemicals can change a brain so much. The way of thinking, maturity, reactions and emotions. I was hoping for a few changes. But now I have them, damn. My cynicism was way misplaced. Hormones are AMAZING! They really do change your head.

Ok, ok. Enough rambling. What do they actually do?!?

The big thing - emotions. What I thought were emotions before? Well, turns out that they were really tuned down background images. The trope of the emotional female could be seen as a male point-of-view stigma used to keep women down. Now - this is just me. But since I started hormones - yes. I am a lot more emotional. My emotions are much closer to the surface. I can feel them. They are always there and can be struck at quite easily.  I need to clarify something here. These hormones are new to me. In effect I am having a 14 year old girls puberty, both mentally and physically. I have this influx of emotions and I have not learnt how to deal with them. So over time, the severity and frequency of 'emotional moments' should die down. But these are real emotions - and they are different to those of a male, even one such as myself that was always pretty damn emotional to start with (or stroppy maybe...).

So I need more detail here. Well, a very pleasant change I noticed early on. I noticed that listening to beautiful, emotional music affected me a lot more. The term would be moved. I connected to the music and I heard it so much clearer than ever before. I would stick on albums just to lie and listen to them so that I could be moved. I am listening to one now for that very reason - which I found in my 'in-box' shelf and have no idea when I bought or, until I listened to it, what it was btw... anyways. In the past I listened to music to listen to music. I love music. If you know me you know that it is my first love. I like how the parts fit together. The poetry of the lyrics. I get excited over little interludes and trills. But this is different - it is almost like I can hear the parts in-between. I get carried away in the moment. I lose all my other thoughts and drift off. And, more often than not, I have to clear the tears from my eyes afterwards. Now, I am sure some women do not see this and some guys do. But for me - there was a change. And I put it down to a more real emotional connection to the music. (Note, I do not have this reaction to NOFX. It does have to be moving music!) 
(Update: actually reacted to lyrics on equality in a NOFX song. Maybe this is getting out of hand...)

So yes, I have had this amazing extra layer added to my first love and I can only attribute this to the availability of my emotions thanks to hormones. What more reason do you need? Transition NOW!

OK. Then there is just the raw emotions in everyday life.  I catch myself saying "awwww" in response to cute animal videos. Now, people that do that are open to being laughed at. Who does that? Well, now - me. Also, I sit in meetings, my mind wanders a little and I suddenly get teary about something completely random. "oh, this pen has such smooth writing action". What?!? I actually cry at coming out stories. Damn, get a grip. Males do not do this. Or it is rare. I certainly didn't. (I was wondering whether I was actually a robot or not...) But I do now. It is odd but also nice. I have times when these things happen more, time when they happen less. But, I cherish them in a weird way.

My niece made me laugh of late. Now I have always been prone to laughter becoming hysterical till I cannot breath and I have shed pints of laugh-tears. But my niece, earnestly changing rules of a game we were playing so that she could win (with no concept of forthright, plain cheating) just cracked me up. So funny. But then, some weird emotional reaction went off and I just started crying - not my hysteria tears but just tears of pure joy at how amazing she was - a miracle of life with a whole, wide world open before her smart little self. So I just passed it off, pretending to yawn to make the tears have a reason. But no. This was pure emotional happiness and not something I experienced except in exceptional circumstances in the past. And I talk to cis-female friends. And they say yes - this stuff happens.  Sometimes worse, sometimes less. But it happens. Like it is the most natural and obvious thing in the world. To me, experiencing it for the first time, it is not. Like I say, it should reduce. But it is such a different experience that neither cis-males or cis-women will, in my view comprehend in magnitude.

There was a funny incident a few weeks back. This was the start of the emotions really kicking in. I had thought they had earlier. Certainly I had had a shift and the stories above happened before this. But then, one day, a gear shifted up and for a few weeks and I was struggling to keep above the emotions. But - loving it at the same time and these are precious memories. But one day, the first day of the gear change, I was sat at home. And I decided that my hormones do not work. So I started crying. Then I stopped. Then 10 mins later I remembered that I thought my hormones did not work, and so I start crying again. Like this. All day. The next day I just laughed at the irony of it all. But that day. Yep. The start of a new world for me!

And one last story in the 'crazy emotion’ vein. So in an earlier blog I mentioned how much I coveted my sister's flower-fairy dolls. (That wasn't in the ten commandments - was it?) So recently I watched a little English TV and there is an advert for a UK store that has fairies flying around. So first off, this reminded me of my sister's dolls - mainly because this was fairies at Christmas and I remember my sister getting those dolls and putting them on our Christmas tree. Then I think how pretty and petite the fairies are, how lovely their bodies.

So I not have said this before but when I was pre-transition I stared at girl's bodies. Not because of attraction reasons (although, that does happen too). But because you want to look at how the female body is. Compare it to your own and see what you are missing. Also analyse their makeup, get jealous of their long hair and wonder where they bought those cute boots or dress. Yep - that is what a person likes me thinks about when staring at girls. Not all guys, but those like me. So maybe 'that' guy staring at you is not a creep. He probably is though. Anyways... 
So yes. I look at the pretty fairies with bodies I want and realise I will never be a fairy. Because they do not exist. So I did not actually want to be mythical. But now I know I cannot be a fairy. Man I started bawling. Crying away. And for two weeks after, whenever I remembered it - because it is funny - I went from laughing at myself to crying in seconds. And I tell my female friends and they just say "yep. Things like that happen sometimes." HUH?!?! Guys - be aware. This stuff goes through a girls minds. Now you know.

And the thing is: it is amazing. I said earlier, some of this stuff is the stereotype of a female. But damn, it is amazing. The difference in how I feel emotion really does make me feel female. Like my brain is actually reacting in a feminine way. And, despite the oddness of it all, normal. How my brain should react. It is a little overwhelming to get used to. But honesty - it is so amazing. My hormone doctor told me I would 'feel' female when they took hold.

 And he was so right.

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