I am thinking about estrogen. And I’m nervous.

I was nervous and I am still nervous. But I’m still thinking about it.

What scares me is not the side effects, the changes, the implications. It’s that I want it.

To be clear, I love myself. There is no part of my gender that feels wrong. But the step feels massive to me. Over the past few months I’ve grown out my hair, enjoyed the small spurts of euphoria from skirts, but this feels like going from crawling to walking to bungee jumping.

According to the University of California, San Francisco Gender Affirming Health Program, I would see fat growing in my hips and legs, a more feminine face, body hair thinning and slowing. I’m looking forward to it. The “roller coaster of emotions” too.

But what about fertility? There’s a chance I won’t be able to have kids, according to UCSF. Will it really come down to future children versus my present gender? It’s a huge question, but options like adoption do make answering it a bit easier.

But why not?

Literally, I often ask myself “why not?” Not that I am approaching estrogen with anything less than the respect it deserves, but for every ounce of anxiety and doubt, I ask “why not?”

Why not like what I see in the mirror, feel more comfortable in my skin? Feel closer to who I am than what I was assigned at birth?

As much as I concern myself with side effects and changes, I think I’m most afraid of getting exactly what I want. Of stepping outside my comfort zone.

Maybe my reluctance to change is another remnant of the masculinity I’m trying to shrug off. After all, one of my first lessons growing up was that men did not need comfort nor safety: they provided it. Stubborn stoicness, the fear of becoming “soft”, the obstinate cling to habit – these are heirlooms of the toxic masculinity I grew up with.

Every morning I encounter the sharp corners of my chin, the broad shoulders – the parts of the person in the mirror which feel out of place. I know I can’t warp the bones in my face, or the length of my hips. I’ve made my peace with these. I’ve learned to love them. But I think I’m ready to come closer to who I am.

I’m still nervous. But I’m still thinking about it.


Avraham Forrest is a writer from Indiana. They attend Indiana University. In their spare time they enjoy baking and jogging. Follow on Instagram @avraham_forrest.


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