You Don’t Know What You Got ‘Til It’s Gone
American Trans Man
Age: 51 years old
Identifies as: Man, Transsexual Man, Transgender Man, FTM
A couple weeks ago, a random movement of my hand across my unclothed belly detected something new.
I looked down and noticed for the first time a soft downy patch of testosterone-induced body hair that had sprouted around my navel.
I have to be honest – body hair growth is one of the virilizing effects of hormone replacement therapy that I haven’t really been pining for, so I haven’t been eagerly waiting and watching for it like some guys do.
What surprised me, however, was the sensation that came with finding it. The best way I can describe it, is that it was like a sense of relief, an unanticipated “ahhh, that feels better” moment. I can repeat that relief over and over simply by running my hand over that little patch of vellus hairs.
What do I take from this? That feeling that small amount of virilization relieves some low level of dysphoria that I didn’t even realize was there. My brain says, “Yup, that’s what I’ve been waiting for,” and the discomfort, which is so ingrained that it’s an integral, unnoticed part of day-to-day existence, is noticeably and incrementally reduced.
How does a fish know that it’s in water? When it isn’t any more.
Sometimes it takes the absence of something to realize it was even there in the first place. I think some aspects of body dysphoria can be like that, at least for me.