So, it’s been a little while

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I’ve not been posting for a good while partly because I haven’t known quite what to write about and partly because I’ve been busy as hell.  Lucky and I have moved out of our apartment and in with a few friends.  Before we could move, we had to tile our new bedroom and all sorts of other stuff to prepare so that’s my whole excuse.

In the midst of all this, we have also been putting some of our transition research into practice and have been experimenting with dietary changes.  Lucky has been taking herbal supplements for a couple of months now, but is planning on no longer taking them at all and instead replacing them with herbal teas (in particular, teas specifically designed for “women” such as “Female Toner” and “Moon Cycle,” two of many phytoestrogen tea blends meant for menstrual regulation).  They have also discovered that spearmint is an incredibly strong natural anti-androgen so they have also taken to mixing that into their tea blends.  The biggest concern for Lucky is that many of these menstrual regulation teas include a fair amount of licorice root which can be dangerous if one is not careful – Licorice is one of the strongest phytoestrogens we have been able to find and it’s also an anti-androgen, but if overused, side-effects include major water retention and a failure to absorb Vitamin C.  Basically, you could ingest nothing but licorice root and live up to six days without water before you die from scurvy (among other things).  They’re also unsure of cramp bark, which is a big ingredient in the teas, but I don’t know if that’s such a big thing to worry about.  In terms of diet, Lucky found that eggs and milk have a shit-ton of progesterone in them (kind of a “duh” moment, but of course neither of us thought about it before).  So as a part of their daily transition diet, eggs for breakfast with lots of cheese mixed in (neither of us drinks dairy milk), have proven an effective way to obtain progesterone for breast growth among other things.

I’ve found it a bit more difficult to find phytotestosterone teas, but I’ve accepted that I’ll just have to figure out those blends myself.  Overall, my focus has been more dietary than herbal – I have been dosing myself with pine nuts on a daily basis, which is awesome but pine nuts are goddamn expensive (around here, at least – they can only be found in tiny little packages for like $7 a pop, a quarter of which equals a dose for me.  Fortunately, I haven’t had to pay for them yet – they seem to just keep falling right into my pockets while I’m shopping).  Pine nuts, combined with lots of estrogen-flushing veggies such as kale, brussels sprouts and other cruciferous goodies have been super effective.  There’s really only one thing that I have trouble with – mother fucking mushrooms.  I’m supposed to add white cap mushrooms into at least one of my meals each day – these help me retain testosterone by preventing it from converting into estrogen.  The problem with this is…I fucking hate mushrooms.  I hate them a lot.  Lucky had been cutting them up for me really really small so that I wouldn’t really notice them in my food, but the smell of mushrooms cooking is enough to make me ill and eventually I had to stop doing that.  I need to find another testosterone retainer to take the place of icky nasty white caps, but I’m not sure where to start on that.  I have also been drinking Hawthorn tea for another estrogen flusher, but realistically, the pine nuts are the most important part of my regimen.

In terms of noticeable changes, I have no news on my side as yet except for perhaps an increase in sex drive and irritability (the latter, I’ll need to keep in check with damiana).  I would like to get my hands on some tribulus to add to my regimen, but I’ve only just started and I’m too realistic to expect things to happen right away.  Lucky, on the other hand, has been at this way longer than I have.  They have gone from medical, to herbal to diy hormones and so far, this newest transition seems to be working best.  The herbal supplements they were taking seemed to be lacking in anti-androgens, making the estrogen and progesterone way less effective, but now that they have added their own touch to their regimen, shit seems to be happening.  They’re getting more breast growth again (that has been halted since switching to herbal supplements, and their facial hair had started thickening again), and there has been a very noticeable difference in emotional reactions to things as well as sex drive.  One reason that Lucky switched from medical to herbal was because the Spironolactone that they were taking for an anti-androgen was in many ways too effective – in that, it made them feel like something incredibly unhealthy was happening to their body.  It all but killed their sex drive and definitely reduced sexy feels in the genital area which was pretty sad.

This is due to the medical hormones being so absolute – they don’t work with the body’s natural rhythms, nor do they acknowledge that we need all of our hormones, one cannot just completely 86 one to replace with another, but rather, all that is needed is the reduction of one to make room for the dominance (for lack of a better word) of the other.  What medical hormones do is prepare the body for a full hormonal and physical overhaul as preparation for a binary surgery.  Since full SRS is not the goal at the moment for either of us, the medical route is not only unnecessary, but also far less than ideal.  Our current experimentation with herbal teas and dietary changes seems to be most effective for both of us.

Exercise, not Competition

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So, I’ve been needing to start working on my transition and I’ve decided to go about this slowly and carefully, taking it one step at a time. Since AFAB transition requires a lot of exercise and I’m more interested in achieving androgyny than anything else, I think that starting up a regular exercise routine should be my first step. Interestingly enough, it is also the hardest step. I’m not good at making myself exercise – I never liked it. Perhaps there is a reason for that, it’s not like I don’t feel good after exercising, I do, but I think it has more to do with the pressure I have come to associate with such a practice.

Growing up in U.S. public school systems, children tend to equate exercise with competition because the American mindset is a competitive one and most phys ed classes incorporate that mindset into their curriculum by focusing on competitive sports. Even basic stretches and core exercises were given a competitive twist and I, not having ever been a competitive person myself, got turned off to the entire idea. Despite being naturally slim and incredibly healthy my entire life, gym was always by far my worst subject area – I had no upper body strength to speak of, no endurance, the only thing I was good at was running and, strangely, basketball. I might have actually pursued basketball as a hobby if that, too, wasn’t so competitive. I was even offered a place on my middle school coaches long distance running team and turned it down because I didn’t want the pressure of competing in a sport. It simply involved too much – dieting, regular exercise, but most importantly playing to win. And here I am now, having to make myself do the things that my peers used to bully me for being unable to do.

Perhaps this is why I took to yoga so well. It’s the perfect regimen – there is no pressure, you need only do what is available to you and your body on any particular day and, most importantly, it focuses on the entire body in near equal proportion (if you’re doing it right). I can’t go to the gym without feeling inadequate compared to the people around me and I think that focusing on only one part of the body at a time is ineffective at best and harmful at worst. I prefer yoga’s simplicity to literally anything else – exercise machines just look like medieval torture devices by comparison. So what’s my problem, then? Why not just do yoga every day forever and make it a habit? Probably just laziness, honestly. That and a strange fear of routine.

I don’t know what it is, but I don’t like homogeneity in my daily schedule. It gets boring. Still, that’s an easily fixed problem too – it’s not like I’ll be doing the same exact yoga practice every day, that wouldn’t be useful at all. I’m not sure what it is that bothers me, perhaps it does come down to that old issue with competitive exercise or maybe I’m just afraid of the physical changes I can expect from actually being in shape (which, I’ll grant, is a little weird but I like my jiggly butt. It jiggles XD). Also, somehow I think I’m afraid that yoga might even make my body shape more feminine than it already is (though, I’m not exactly sure how that’s possible) with all of the hip-opening stretches to open my already very wide hips and core exercises which promise to make my waste even slimmer as though to make me a more pronounced hour glass. But all of that is silly – hormones will help to redistribute fat in my body to make it more masculine, I know this, but still. Part of me thinks I’m supposed to be doing more “manly” exercises like lifting weights and doing pull-ups (a thing I’ve literally never been capable of to my middle school self’s embarrassment), maybe I should be running on a regular basis, doing crunches and push-ups and all this other good shit, but none of it has ever been as satisfying as yoga so perhaps that is the best thing for me. Maybe, one day I’ll add those things to my routine, but since I’m only just (re-)starting a regular exercising habit, I think I’ll stick with my favorite and, by far the versatile, of options. I know now that I’m not in competition with anybody else and I don’t have somebody yelling over my shoulder for me to “be better, be better, don’t be lazy, don’t give up, you have adversaries to beat;” I only have myself and my goals and my needs and that is enough for me, I think.