A Year of Personal Growth.

The past 365 days of my life have been almost like a dream. When I first started my transition journey I had no idea how much I would change or go through in one year. To say I’m surprised is an understatement. If you have a bit of time to let me show you a part of me, please take a few minutes to read this blog post.

When I made my first appointment at Planned Parenthood I had no idea what to expect. I made the appointment fully intending on not being able to start hormones for at least another month while waiting for test results and other communications with the doctor. On September 12th, 2018 I drove the 67 miles to the capital city of Nebraska. The entire drive there my heart was racing with excitement and nerves. Pulling into the parking lot I had a lot of emotions about what I was doing. I was thinking about everything I was going to say to the doctor to convince them I was ready to start testosterone. What I walked into was completely opposite of what I expected.

As I was sitting in the waiting room I saw a couple families with babies waiting for their appointments and thought to myself how cool it is that Planned Parenthood has multiple services that they provide. The door opened and the next thing I heard was my name. Not my dead-name, but my name. She took me back to my room and asked me a few questions, told me that they had received my letter of recommendation to start hormones from my psychiatrist and pricked my finger for a hemoglobin test.

I remember asking her a few questions about blood testing and when that would happen and she told me that they only needed to test my hemoglobin for this appointment. That pretty much told me in my head that There would be a wait to officially get my prescription. The nurse left the room and said the doctor would be right in. I sat in that room for two minutes. It seemed longer because all I heard was doors opening and closing to other rooms and the ticking of the very loud clock. I heard a knock on the door and the doctor stepped in and said her hellos, asked me why I was there and once I said it out loud she told me my hemoglobin looked great and that the nurse would be in to give me my prescription and give me instructions on how to do my injections.

I was in complete disbelief as I was not expecting the appointment to be that easy. After all, every trans person I had talked to thus far said they had so many hoops to jump through to get on hormones. It turned out that I was one of the lucky ones after being in therapy my whole life and had a documented record of my gender dysphasia from a young age. I left the office with a paper that read out the words I had waited to see for so long, Testosterone Cypionate 200mg/ml. It turned out that the day I had my appointment was the day my real journey began. My first shot of a hormone that was going to make me look like the man I had always felt myself to be.

The first shot was terrifying because I hate needles when they are used on me. Everyone says that makes no sense because I have a ton of tattoos, but when it comes to medical needles it’s different. I sat there for a good 10 minutes trying to hype myself up but I ultimately just pushed the needle in my leg as I took a sharp breath in. I was surprised to find that I didn’t even feel the needle puncture my skin. The only thing I felt was the pure joy running through my body that I was starting my hormones.

That first month consisted of me talking to myself in the car and recording it to see if my voice had changed. I couldn’t hear it but one day my mom called and asked for Blake. I told her it was me and she was surprised. My voice had finally hit a dropping point. From that day on my confidence grew. I was on Testosterone for 2 months, then three, then four. It was surreal to say the least. I hit that point in my transition where people no longer looked at me odd when I entered the men’s restroom, no longer called me ma’am over the phone, and no longer looked at me and was unsure of my gender.

It was around this time that I started talking to an online friend more often. My confidence had been up enough to present myself as who I knew I was and being able to have someone see me as myself felt amazing. The longer we talked, the more we found out that we had things in common. It wasn’t very often I found someone with so many mutual interests, values, and future plans. The more we talked the more I grew to fall for this man I had known for a while but never would have guessed it would turn into anything life impacting.

Every day I could feel myself open up more than the day before. I have always been a very closed off person, only letting certain people see the depth of my mind that I had always afraid of showing. A few moments of a conversation soon turned into all night Skype calls and constant texting. He lived quite a ways away but the distance seemed so small compared to my feelings for him. We planned on meeting up but eventually the need to see each other grew so strong that he ended up just moving in. I knew the second I laid my eyes on him in the airport that I would never let him go. My heart was his at the first glance in his direction. I allowed myself to be vulnerable and true around him. Every day since that day I have let a little more of me show to the world. He has given me the courage to be raw and real with everyone I know. I’m not saying that he makes me who I am, but I am saying he makes me proud to show who I am to people I never would have.

My self discovery and growth has been a huge part of the last year but so has my relationship. We’ve been together for a little over seven months and are set to get married on December 14, 2019. I never would have thought that I could grow so much in such a short time. I make it a point every day to reflect on the days before and notice how I have changed and it all started with September 12th.

Something I have allowed to come out about myself is my love for poetry. I had never really shown my true writing ability when it came to poetry until I grew more confident in myself and the way I was living my life. Especially what I write about. I’m no longer afraid of how people will see me after they read something I have written. Below is one of those poems.

Another thing I have talked about more is my health. That has always been a tough subject for me because I was always told that everything was in my head and everything I thought I felt was me trying to get attention from others. It’s no secret that I was born with a slew of medical issues. I’ve talked about some of them. Lately I have spoken more about my health struggles because of the effect it has on my life and people close to me. My health has cost me one of my reasons for living because I’m unable to perform the duties of the job right now, especially with impending surgery. But that’s not what we are here to talk about.

In the past year of being on testosterone, my life has been less about the details of my transition and more about my personal growth in life in general and my relationship with the people in my life.

In short, this past year has been about letting myself be more open about my life in many aspects, becoming more vulnerable, growing to love things about myself I cannot change, and allowing myself to do all of these things in the presence of someone I was lucky enough to fall in love with.

Personal growth can mean so many things to different people. For me, my personal growth means living as my one true self with my husband and being able to show the world that I am more than just some transgender guy. I’m a writer, a chronic illness warrior, a friend, a family member, and a caregiver. But mostly I’m just human. And that’s all people really need to know. I have grown in more ways than one this past year. I can’t wait to see what the second year brings.

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