This post will cover my third month of HRT, which was when my body just went OH HEY GIRL-HORMONES! and began changing so fast it made my head spin. (Kinda literally. For a while I lost my balance easily, probably due to getting used to my body weighing / balancing differently in a short time.)
Early on in the third month, I began to shave hair from my torso. It seems weird to explain this, but I still suffered under the misconception that shaving made hair grow back thicker/faster. My endocrinologist had explained this was an urban legend with no basis in science. It may SEEM it, but it just wasn't true. He suggested I shave rather than wax, as waxing could result in hair growing back at an angle which would make future efforts at hair electrolysis difficult.
Even though I was sure I'd not be able to afford electrolysis (I'd decided on laser) I figured I'd stick to his advice anyway.
I was pretty blown away by how much of a difference shaving made. I mean, I knew it would but realising just how feminine my torso looked now was extremely exciting.
Then, on day 63, I shaved my legs for the first time.
Took an hour. Fuck that was frustrating the first time, and I keep finding tiny bits I missed.
BUT OH GOD THEY FEEL GOOD. Slipping between clean sheets with shaved legs is one of the most lovely experiences I've had in a long while. Small tactile things matter, motherfucker!
More to the point, I suddenly feel comfortable in dresses in a way I didn’t before. My body is making me feel less and less uncomfortable every day now.
On Day 64, I wrote:
Put on some activewear half-length shorts I’ve worn for months now. First time in a month.
It’s official - my thighs and arse are getting fatter. I barely fit in them now.
This was particularly surprising to me as since December, I had lost 4.5kg. That's a HUGE weight drop considering my diet and lifestyle hadn't changed. But hormones were REALLY doing their thing.
It almost all came off my middle, so fast that it only made my breast development seem more pronounced. I went from a the pot-belly of a largely-unfit nerd to actually having the beginnings of a waist.
So finding that fat was even subtly increasing on some parts of my body was a bit strange.
On about day 70, I did something else new:
I had someone blast a frickin' laser at my head.
I ran into a friend on the way to this session, told him what he was doing, and he helpfully suggested I duck the laser. Traditionally, this would have been very wise, but I didn't duck in the end.
I was incredibly nervous about laser. So much so that I had pushed it back. I probably should have begun even before HRT, but I kept hearing horror stories from friends about how painful it was.
Rationally, I knew that my face has never been sensitive (dry-shaving was never a problem) and that discussing laser hair removal on sensitive skin like your under-arms or legs is quite different to your face.
But I still had trouble sleeping the night before.
As it turns out, the first session was fast and quite painless, apart from the soft part of skin under my jaw. That stung a bit.
When I finally winced at one point, the tech asked, "Do you want me to slow down?"
"Do you want to slow down?" seemed to have become a recurring sentence in my life.
"No," I told her. Why would I want to draw it out?
In the end, she was impressed at how I'd reacted to it, and charged me less per session than she'd quoted, "because I can do it so fast with you".
No complaints from me.
Now, laser hair removal isn't magical. It isn't always effective, you need to do it every month for some time, and right after doing it hair actually seems MORE prominent than before. You can't shave until the redness from the laser-blasting goes down, and even then my hair seemed darker.
But within a few days, it began to just... lighten. I didn't notice hair falling out, but it clearly did. As the laser tech had directed, I was voiding the sun and wearing sunblock on my face when I went out. Within a week, it was tougher to notice stubble if I'd shaved recently.
Perhaps partly as a result of this, on day 76, something entirely new happened.
For context, at this point when I left the house I was actually wearing predominantly women's clothes - men's t-shirts hung off my too loosely thanks to weight coming off my middle, so I began to wear baby-doll t-shirts most of the time. In fact, the only male clothes I wore with any frequency were cargo pants.
But from my perspective, given what my body shape was, it was a pretty androgynous look.
(In fact: fun trivia, if you have small breasts flattened with a crop top and have little to no stomach fat any more, you actually just look like a pretty chiselled guy. I had one person ask if I'd been working out.)
I was at a bar with friends for a game developer meet-up.
I went to buy us some drinks, and lined up at the bar with a girl I didn't know.
The bartender wasn't someone I knew at this place, and he walked up and smiled, addressing the girl and I.
"What can I get for you ladies?"
I did a hopefully-subtle double-take and when the other girl gestured that I was first, ordered our drinks, going back to my friends in a state of semi-shock.
"I just got correctly gendered by a stranger," I explained.
I don't think I'd realised how big a moment this would be, but it made me feel absolutely amazing. Nothing had ever felt so 'right' - it was one thing having friends address me with the right gender pronoun, and it was another for someone to get it right without being told.
I was on cloud nine the rest of the night.