OK, so before May 26, 2008, the day of my first injection, winds as a mere fragment in my life, it’s time for me to write about it so that I can remember it for the rich, eventful and symbolic day that it was.
May 26 was a Monday this year and the preceding weekend was spent in Columbus, Ohio at a Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention with my friend M. I had specifically made the appointment for that Monday morning because, since M. was giving me a ride back to Montreal and staying over on Sunday night, this would make it possible for me to share this experience with her. We had planned for her to be there for several weeks and, since she lives and works south of the Canada-U.S. border with a hectic work schedule, it was difficult to find a time when the nurse who was to show me how to self-inject and M. would both be available. I really wanted her there because she’s one of my bestest friends that I love very much. It wasn’t so much that I needed moral support but I wanted to share this momentous life experience with someone close. So this worked out great for all concerned.
On Sunday night, we got to my place around 10 or 11PM. It was neat to cross the US – Canada border because, as I explained to M., I moved back to Canada with my parents shortly before my first adolescence. And now, as I was about to consciously start a second adolescence, here I was crossing into Canada again, this time by choice as well.
Later that night, I was in a kind of emotional limbo: not quite nervous in the traditional way but with a feeling of expectation and quiet anticipation. I felt like I needed to be doing something. I tried blogging and, as one can see here, I wasn’t very successful at expressing myself. I tried to sleep but I was staring into space, trying to refrain from excessive twirling lest I keep M. awake.
I decided to take a bath. I rarely take baths, preferring showers, but it felt right. It felt ritualistic. I decided to set it up that way too. I lit a candle and burnt a stick of my favourite incense: Nag Champa. I put the new stone I got at the convention that weekend on the edge of the tub.
About the stone: I only own a few and am not a fanatic about them but every now and then, one catches my fancy. Being a very instinctive person, I usually go with my gut instinct. At the convention, I spotted a rack of crystals, gems and stones. I was killing time waiting for M. so I casually wandered in that direction. Once there, I felt inexplicably compelled to move exactly the top three racks of crystals and wound up uncovering a whole rack of beautiful green stones, that I would later find out where fluorite. One particular piece, a fluorite octahedron, caught my attention and I knew that I had to get it. I still did not know why but I knew this was symbolic and important.
Sunday night, before my nap and after attempting to blog, I looked it up. I found this pageand, upon reading it, it made perfect sense that this little piece would call out to me. In particular, the following passages ring very true for me. The first one connects directly to one of the basic “tennets”, for lack of a better term, of my spirituality – the idea of a universal energy that both transcends and includes all living beings combined with the presence of individual bundles of energy.
Once at peace, the mind becomes aware of its source, infinite and universal intelligence. This awareness, when achieved on a regular basis [. . .] creates a pathway for remaining attuned to universal consciousness while functioning as an individual on the physical plane.
The following passage connects to ideas that have been on my mind lately and connects more directly to my transition. A few posts back I wrote about the feeling of wholeness and internal connectedness that I’ve been feeling as I go through the steps toward physical transition. So when I read this passage, I felt like finding this stone a mere 36 hours or so before my first injection of testosterone was just . . . beyond appropriate and almost fateful.
The octahedron form represents the merging of the physical, mental, and spiritual planes, thus symbolizing a state of completion.
SO ANYWAY: Back to my main narrative – I put the stone on the edge of the tub to help me focus on the completeness that I’m striving for and to mark this particular bath as a pre-T ritual: a cleansing before the first physical stage of my rite of passage. During the bath, I kept thinking about how this was the last bath before this massive change that I was about to make. It’s not that I thought that this first shot of T would lead to immediate physical changes. But I knew that going through with it would be a big step and that, from then on, knowing that I had testosterone flowing through my system, changing my body in small, gradual and imperceptible ways was leading to something much bigger over the long run.
After that, I was more relaxed and able to sleep, knowing that I had marked this occasion in my own special way. I managed to catch a few hours of sleep and was nice and awake the next morning. My ex had to work early and brought my son over so that I could walk him to school. That felt right too . . . I got to spend a bit of time with my little guy before this big change.
So when it was time for M. and I to go downtown to the hospital, I was pretty calm (I think). We took the metro (subway) down and I felt elated the whole ride. I felt like this was the most special subway ride ever, that I was headed toward this fantastic adventure. Everything looked and felt differently. When we came out of the metro, we headed down this long hallway that leads to the stairs that would take us up to the ground. There is always a gust of wind at this point but on that morning, it felt like that wind was there just for me – a greeting or a welcoming into my new life. It made me smile and it was all I could do to refrain from giggling.
When we got to the hospital, I had to do some red tape (get a hospital card) that is usually quite tedious but I was so elated that I was even more friendly than I usually am with everyone I dealt with. And I’m always quite friendly so that’s saying something. When we got to the floor where the endocrinologists are, all we had to do was sit and wait for the nurse. We didn’t wait very long – out she came, friendly and smiling, just like on the phone.
The whole process of explaining how to self inject and then talking me through the process must have taken about 20 minutes. I thought Mme. S. was an excellent teacher and I told her so. Her explanations were clear and straighforward. She was a calm and reassuring presence, just like the nurse who took care of me during my labour 8 1/2 years ago. For about a split second before I actually injected, I asked myself if I was doing the right thing and if I had really thought this through. I had a very fleeting thought that maybe I should think about it some more. Then I thought: “Enough! I’ve thought about this enough. I’ve thought it and overthought it. It’s time. These feelings won’t go away. They won’t magically disappear. If I cop out now, it will just keep coming back to haunt me. Just do it.” And I did it. The injection was easier than I thought. Since I inject at a 90 degree angle, it’s very quick to actually stick the needle in. It was a bit surreal to see the liquid enter my body. “Wow, this is the stuff that will change my body and make me physically look like a man? It looks so . . . benign!”
After the injection, she had to keep me there for 15 minutes to check for reactions so we got to chat a little. Then, everything was fine and I was good to go! Leaving the building, I felt surreal. I already felt like I was a somewhat different person than when I had entered – like I had grown a little, like one feels after a life-changing experience.
Outside, M. and I hugged on the sidewalk for a few minutes, oblivious to passers-by. This reminded me of why I had brought her with me. I brought her so that I could share this with her – it was her experience too. I felt bad for having been so “me” focused during the actual process but knew that she would get that. And feeling her presence made the experience much more fulfilling for me than if I would’ve been alone, even if we didn’t talk much.
We started walking and, M. being a coffee-fiend, I didn’t think she’d object to hitting the nearest Second Cup. For some reason beyond me, I wanted a strawberry smoothie. Yes, a pink drink after my first injection of the manly testosterone. But, hey, I AM queer ya know and THAT is one of the many things that I don’t foresee will change about me anytime soon 😉