50 Shades of Black and White

One of the most interesting things about my transition has been my emotional change.  I still haven’t turned into a raging Hulk or a crazed monster, which was honestly my biggest fear, so that’s good.

But, I have noticed a huge change in the way that I feel and process emotion. I had always heard that testosterone can turn a trans guy into kind of a dick.  As in, perhaps, insensitive, short-fused, or brutally honest, I suppose.  We will use “dick” as shorthand for all that.  It’s just faster to say.

So I was afraid T would turn me into a dick.  Although I would not consider myself an overly-emotional person pre-transition (thanks Scandinavian family!), I did  consider my “big heart” one of my best attributes. So, yeah, I didn’t want to lose that part of me.

Turns out, T doesn’t make you a dick.  It does, however, enhance some attributes which, if used the wrong way, I suppose could lead to dick behavior. So, like Ani DiFranco says, every tool is a weapon if you hold it just right.  In this case, every transguy can be a dick on T if he’s naturally-inclined to be so.

Anyway. I have noticed two really big emotional changes.  One I have written about already— I feel like my range and expression have drastically narrowed.

The other is that I have noticed a change in my ability to block emotion.  Otherwise phrased, my brain now can completely turn my emotions off, if it wants to.  Even if I didn’t say so.

Other trans friends of mine have described this as the thought process of a trans guy suddenly becoming more “black and white.” I either like something or I don’t. And I decide pretty quickly which is which. And it also turns out that once I make up my mind, I can’t really change it.

In my previous brain, there would be a conflict.  I would feel something, say a positive, loving emotion, toward something that my brain recognized was not a smart place to spend that emotional energy.  And there would be a conversation back and forth between emotions and brain.  And if brain relented, emotions could return as they had been.

Now, it’s totally different.  If I like something, and then there’s an event that changes things, suddenly I don’t like it any more. Not only is the change pretty drastic, pretty quickly, but I also can’t access those old feelings. I remember that they existed, but I can’t go back to feeling them.

SO WEIRD.  It’s like a safety mechanism, or something, but it feels very quick and dramatic for someone who is new at this.  Everything is an adjustment, and I’m still very much learning.

It’s been almost exactly a year on T.

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