7 months later

I should be in bed, and I don’t think I have quite decided yet what it is I want to say, but I’m going to try to put my feelings into words.

It’s been about 7 months now since I decided to “detransition”, that is to stop hormone replacement therapy and go back to living as a woman. I got a lot of attention when I made that announcement, understandably I guess, since my original transition was quite public. Thankfully people have mostly been very supportive and I am incredibly grateful for that. Nevertheless, the last few months have been difficult, and I’ve had a lot of soul searching to do.

I didn’t want to talk about it much to begin with. I didn’t feel ready to express what I was going through or to justify my choices without possibly making things more difficult for other trans people. While being trans and deciding to transition is a deeply personal thing, it can have an incredible impact on so many other people, and I felt the weight of that responsibility very intensely. I didn’t want to talk about what I was feeling until I really understood it myself. And now, 7 months later, I still don’t quite understand.

What I’ve done has had consequences for my life. Some I had foreseen and somewhat prepared myself for, but there were some that I couldn’t possibly understand without experiencing them. To be fair, my experience has largely been positive, but much of what I’ve struggled with has been very internal and personal, and I don’t think most people in my life have any idea. Mostly because I haven’t wanted them to.

I took my last shot of testosterone in September. I was supposed to get another one in December, but I didn’t take it. In the 6 months or so that I was on hormones not much had changed aside from very slight “beard” growth which I can easily hide (and will probably have permanently removed at some point), some more hair in other places and bigger muscles. All of my hair growth is still perfectly within the normal “range” for women, and the added muscle tone is gone. My menstrual cycle hasn’t returned however, and I was surprised by how much that has worried me.

All of a sudden it has hit me that I do probably want to have kids some day and I’m terrified that I might have ruined my chances of ever being a mother. What if my ovaries are just permanently damaged? I had PCOS before, what if I made it worse? Every single time I go to the toilet I am disappointed that I haven’t started my period. Every time I feel a tingle somewhere in my lower abdomen I hope that it’s PMS or possibly ovulation or something. But month after month nothing has happened. I keep meaning to go see an ob-gyn about it, but I think I’m too scared to really know. It’s strange how much my hopes and plans for the future have changed in such a short period of time.

My voice is much lower than it was. My speaking voice isn’t freakishly deep or anything, I think I mostly sound a bit like I have a cold all the time. That’s ok, I guess with time I’ll get used to it and stop feeling so self conscious about it. My singing voice dropped considerably however, and at the moment it’s pretty much stuck in the baritone range.

I know I should just feel all cool and special about it. I keep trying to tell myself that it makes me kind of unique and that I can probably make something of it. But I don’t feel it yet. And I worry that I will never get to the point where I can accept that as a part of me. I love singing…like, a lot. I have always loved singing. But now I feel so defeated because I’ll never sound like I used to, and my voice is still so messed up. I’ll need a lot of training to make anything of it and the task feels too overwhelming.

I tried to rejoin the Reykjavik Queer Choir, but I felt so out of place singing the bass line that I just couldn’t deal with it. Every practice I went home feeling worse. I’m not a bass (thankfully!) and I can’t reach all the deepest notes, but my high notes are too messed up and I can’t sing even half of the tenor range…and I just felt useless, freaky, out of place, and utterly depressed about it all.

Maybe it’ll all be ok. Maybe I’ll end up loving my strange voice. Maybe my ovaries are fine and I’ll find someone who won’t mind my strange history, who’ll actually want to have kids with me.

That’s another thing. Even though I have chosen to live as a woman and I have mostly made peace with that, I still have a trans history. I have explored and tried out something that will never occur to most people. I have changed my name and attempted to live as a man. I have attempted to use hormones to change my body. And in this small country I feel like I will never get away from that. Like I will always be that person. Am I too messed up by now?

No. I don’t believe I am, but a part of me still worries. I do somewhat regret what I’ve done. I regret how difficult this has been, I regret the anxiety, and I regret what I’ve put my family and loved ones through. But ultimately it did answer questions which probably would’ve otherwise haunted me for the rest of my life, and I don’t regret finding those answers.

I am not trans. I’m a woman. For some reason it was incredibly difficult for me to learn that about myself. I’ve felt like a failure as a woman for most of my life, I’m not sure why, and I don’t think it’s healthy to dwell on that too much. I have come to understand that there is no such thing as failing as a woman or a man, you can’t fail to be a human being. I am me, and I am a woman, and therefore I have succeeded in being a woman. There is no one womanhood which we all must aspire to live up to, even though society has this insidious way of trying to convince us otherwise.

I am a little weird and I don’t always fit in. I’m not small and delicate and über feminine. But I’m still a woman and I’m perfectly ok as who I am. Even if it’s taken me this long to realise that.

Don’t get me wrong. I am perfectly aware that trans people do exist. There are people whose sense of themselves really does not fit the body they were born in, and they should be able to correct that. People who change their minds and detransition are rare, and this happens for a number of reasons. I don’t want anyone to look at me and take me as proof that trans people are all just mistaken or sick. Because they are not. I’m the one who was mistaken, I was wrong, and I’m sorry for that. Even as I realise it was something I needed to do.

I have learned a lot about myself this last year. I have learned through working with children that if I ever have kids of my own, I will be a great mother. I have a lot of love to give and I want to give it. I have learned that I’m allowed to exist in this body of mine, even if it’s not “beautiful” according to society, and that I’m worth loving as who I am. And I have learned that despite everything I have the strength to make difficult choices, to admit when I am wrong, and to keep going. So I’m going to do that, keep going. And I’ll be ok.

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The beginning of my transition

I should either be asleep (since I’m sick) or working on my dissertation. I am not a very sensible person, so I’ve decided to write a blog post instead.

It’s been a week and 2 days (3 days? It’s after midnight) since I got my very first shot of male hormones. This means I get my next one in a month. It was rather anti-climatic at the time, I’d been waiting for so long and been feeling so excited/anxious that by the time I finally got the shot, it was like I was expecting everything to change immediately.

It didn’t. In fact, I didn’t feel anything of note for several days. I got some weird flashes of energy and buzziness, but aside from that nothing.

Since then I have noticed some changes. Nothing much has happened physically. I look the same, and everything pretty much feels the same. I think I might have built up some extra muscle already, but I’m not sure. I’ve noticed that I smell a bit different, it was particularly obvious to begin with, but it’s either not as strong now, or I’ve gotten used to it. My appetite went through the roof, and it’s been a bit hard to keep it in check. I’m hoping that won’t last too long. And my skin is getting greasier and spottier, ugh!

As for my voice, I don’t think it’s noticeably deeper yet, but my throat has felt scratchy for a while now and I sound a bit like I have a cold.

The biggest changes that I have noticed have been mental more than physical. I get irritated quicker, and over sillier things. It’s actually quite difficult to deal with because it feels like I’ve gone back to my teen years, but at the same time I still have the maturity and wisdom that I have acquired through the years, so I KNOW I’m being unreasonable and annoying. Therefore I feel a mixture of irritation and guilt and I feel sometimes like I should just hide myself away for a while.

My boyfriend says I tease him more, but then, that might just be me getting more relaxed around him. :P

It’s hard to describe how I feel. I feel pretty good about things, and I’m honestly quite glad that it’s all happening so slowly. I feel a bit more dude-like, as silly as that sounds. I don’t think it’s my subconscious trying to be more manly because it thinks I should be, I don’t really care about being manly. I just feel more relaxed, and yet somehow more assertive. It’s all a little strange.

But then again, it’s only been 2 weeks (and 2-3 days!) and I will be slowly changing for months and even years. I’m happy about it and excited to deal with the future. I think I can handle being a bit irritated for a while.

Question is: can everyone else?

My name

For some time now I have been introducing myself to people as Þór Matthías. In the last few days I’ve been thinking about this name more and more and whether it is actually a name that I want to keep for the rest of my life.

I have decided that it is not. I like Þór, I’m quite used to being called Þór by now, but I want my full name to be a bit more…of a mouthful I guess. I’m not used to having a one syllable name and it feels weird. I’ve always kind of liked having a full name and then a shortened version (Halldóra-Dóra). I also have something of an attachment to the letter H, for some reason.

So I have decided to change Þór into Hafþór (Haf=ocean). I like the idea of people who don’t know me calling me Hafþór, but reserving Þór for those who know me better. It’s also just a fuller, more meaty name, I suppose.

The other part of this is that Matthías is a name I had chosen for myself several years ago. I wanted to keep it in order to connect these two periods in my life, but I have come to realise that it’s actually just reminding me of a time when I was very unhappy. I feel quite distant from it now and I’m uncomfortable with it. Hafþór Matthías is also just about too long.

I went through a list of names the other day and found many that I liked. I decided not to go too far into the weird (with Huginn or Draupnir, even though they are cool) and decided to go with Loki instead. It’s short, it’s not a very common name, it’s interesting and it’s in keeping with the Nordic theme. Also Hafþór Loki just sounds cool, it’s rolls off the tongue quite nicely.

Choosing a new name is very tricky. I want to feel close to it, like it’s mine. I want it to represent me and fit me. I like Hafþór because I come from an island surrounded by the ocean and I’m used to seeing it every day. Þór represents strength and toughness to me, which is something I need. It’s something to live up to. Loki is fun, it has a lot of mischief to it and a kind of stubbornness. It’s a name full of life; a stormy, mischievous, strong name. I like it.

Picking your own name like this is very difficult and a bit sad. I’m leaving behind a good name that I’ve identified with for a very long time. A lot of people around me have to get used to calling me by a new name, and in doing so they might find themselves seeing me differently as a result. It’s a strange experience, but one that I sort of enjoy having. I feel like it’s an opportunity to really find myself, but to reinvent myself at the same time. A chance to take control of my life and set things straight.

Things are all a bit up in the air right now and unstable. I’m in the process of changing and becoming something new, it’s going to take a while and everyone’s a little confused. It’s not going to be the one thing that fixes everything, but it’s something I need to do to find my right place. I am allowing myself to enjoy the journey as well, rather than focusing exclusively on the final result.

Besides, is there every really a final result in life? Each journey gives us the wisdom and knowledge we need to embark on another journey. We collect the necessary tools to enable us to evolve even further. That is the joy of life, this ever evolving adventure.