i figured out something important for my mental health. and i switched to injectable estrogen. believe it or not, these two things are related!

Check out TransLash here: https://play.acast.com/s/translash/introducingthetranslashpodcastwithimarajones


Callie: [00:00:00] Hey friends, if you’re into Queersplaining, there’s another podcast that I think you’ll want to check out. You know, as well as I do news and culture shows aren’t made with trans folks like us in mind. And trans voices are routinely left out of the conversation, even though stories about us are everywhere.

The TransLash podcast with Imara Jones is changing that. Giving our communities a voice. Imara Jones is a Peabody and Emmy award winner. She’s also a black trans woman and a journalist. And Imara understands that telling our own stories and having a voice in the conversations that affect us will save trans lives. 

So if you’re trans and want a show made for you, or if you’re an ally who wants to learn more, you should definitely check out the TransLash podcast. You can hear a new episode every other Thursday. Subscribe to the TransLash podcast on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Shout out to Eli for becoming a new patron this week. Thank you friend. Love you lots. And quick heads up before we get started, there is talk about needles in this episode. I know that’s a sensitive topic for some folks. Please take care of yourself, my friend. My name is Callie Wright and this is Queersplaining. 

A few weeks ago I did an episode kinda giving a rundown of my mental health history, how I got to where I am. Part of that was getting back on hormones. I’d not been consistently on HRT for about a year and went over how restarting HRT and starting an antidepressant at the same time was kind of wild ride, but it was taking me in a very positive direction.

And I’m pleased to say that’s continued. I took another step a few weeks back. I asked my doctor about switching to injectable estrogen. I’ve had a few friends make the switch and say they saw positive results from it. So I thought it’d be worth asking my doctor about. She said it was something we absolutely could try.

She said she liked it, particularly for folks whose moods aren’t always stable and I kind of froze for a second when she said that, because that sounds exactly like what I need. See, when you take a pill, you get a dose that hits your bloodstream and then wanes through the day or night, depending on when you take it.

So it kind of goes up and down in waves every day. But when you inject the curve turns more smooth. It keeps your levels more consistent since you inject once a week. So I was like, “Sign me the fuck up. Please.” I had my prescription and was in the doctor’s office to get trained on how to inject the next day.

I feel like it says something funny about my life. Then the first day I ever took a dose of HRT was on April 1st in 2014, I think it was. I really do hate April fool’s day, but I have to smile at that for some reason. It’s just funny. I had no idea what to expect. You know, you can ask a hundred different folks on the same HRT regimen and you’ll get a hundred slightly different responses about how it affects them.

It’s almost like trans folks are also just people with different bodies and unique experiences. Huh? Weird. And so there are basic things that happen to most people on estrogen, right? Some changes in how your emotions work, fat redistribution. Boobs. Changes in sex drive, loss of body hair, basic stuff. But for me, the emotional changes were the biggest. 

I love my boobs. Trust me. I do, but my emotional, it just made so much more sense. I kind of likened it to the difference between watching a movie on VHS on an old shitty tube TV versus watching a movie in Dolby Atmos in a state of the art theater, except the movie was my life. And the experience was that different. I remember one night in particular, I was at my absolute lowest emotionally. It was a Sunday. I had to take off my nail Polish. I had to lay out my gym shorts and t-shirt for work the next day. I’d be called the wrong name, the wrong pronouns. I’d be an environment totally steeped in toxic masculinity and the entitlement of the rich assholes that were my company’s customers.

And I came across this Reddit post title was, In the final minutes of his life, Calvin has one last talk with Hobbes. If you don’t know Calvin and Hobbes was a comic strip about a five year old boy, I think he was five, and his stuffed tiger. They had all sorts of adventures together. And the post, someone had written a story about the final minutes of Calvin’s life, where he sees Hobbes one last time. They catch up and Calvin asks Hobbes to look after his grandchildren. I lost it. I ugly cried for a good five minutes. Something like that would make me cry anyways, because I cry over almost anything. But that post just opened up every bit of feeling I’ve been holding back about everything in my life that wasn’t going well at that point. They weren’t good feelings, but when the cry was over and I started to collect myself again, I realized something, they weren’t good feelings, but they felt like the right feelings.

The way I was processing those emotions made sense to me. And I think that’s the biggest gift HRT gave me. My feelings made sense. I process things in a way that feels correct to me. And also boobs. I like having boobs too. I started out taking pills and, you know, just at the beginning of the day, I tossed them back with some water and that’d be the end of it.

But when I started injectable estrogen, I had a thought. I could make a ritual of this! Ever since I did that episode with Miri about their cancer ritual, I’ve been trying to think of rituals I could construct for things in my life. I saw how it helped them. And I know how important rituals are to other people.

And this seemed like a perfect opportunity. So I tried to think of some words I could say and some music I could listen to. Something I could do to underline the importance and the significance of the event. I tried to think up some kind of affirmation I could say. Something profound about loving myself, loving my body, something about how this is a radical act of asserting control and agency over my body.

An important sign that my body is my own. I said a bunch of things out loud and nothing felt right. I even tried to think up something in Klingon.

Hegh vljey!

I’ve had this conflict lately. I think the toxic sort of militant atheism I came up in has soured me on anything that might resemble prayer.

Anytime. I would say any kind of affirmation out loud, it would just feel so silly. And I know that’s a toxic thing to feel, but I couldn’t help but feel it. I’m working on, on learning that, but there’s the conflict, right? Do I lean into that discomfort and do it anyways? Just hope that it will suddenly become meaningful and feel good?

That does feel like an important journey to go on, but I also need something that feels important and meaningful in this moment. I want it to feel good right now. That’s kind of the point. I don’t want it to feel silly. Even if it feels silly for bad reasons. And I’m thinking this through, even as I’m setting up to inject last week, Friday morning is the time and I had work to do.

I couldn’t just sit there all day and try to think something up. I have work to do and life to live. So I set up my recorder because I knew I was going to be doing this episode. I thought about playing some music and just like with cooking last week, I know I couldn’t record whatever music it was. I got to get clean tape.

And so I was thinking about putting ear buds in my ears and then headphones over my head and this really complicated setup. Then I remembered how comforting the silence was when I was cooking. And then it hit me quiet is the thing. Quiet is what I need. I don’t need affirmations or words or music. I need quiet.

Quiet is what made my time in the kitchen, meaningful and relaxing and healing. And then I remembered what Mary said intention is the secret sauce. Brushing your teeth can be a ritual if you decide to think of it that way. And so I decided to fully give myself to that moment. To tune out distractions. Words are what I do with my life.

Right? I write and organize my own words. I edit and mix other people’s words. My anxiety throws my brain into chaos and trying to construct a ritual in the way that I did was trying to get a handle on and organize that chaos. And I realized that was the wrong approach. I don’t need to try to find the right words.

I needed no words. I didn’t need to find the right sounds or music. I needed no sound and no music. And so I sat in silence. I focus on my task. Unboxing the medicine, cleaning the injection site, setting out the needles and the syringe. I’m not thinking about anything else. And that’s the ritual quiet, focused, with purpose.

And it’s done. And then I sat in silence for a few minutes. It feels calm. Calm is something rare and special and beautiful for me. If I had words to say or songs to sing, I don’t know if I’d get there. It would feel like another task to complete another thing to check off the to-do list and anything piled on that list feels like work.

And this shouldn’t be the work. Part of the point is for it to not feel like work. Yeah. The quiet is what I need.

Thank you for listening friend. Again, you should definitely go check out TransLash. There just aren’t that many shows made by us and about us. So I’m so stoked for the show to be in the world. I’ll have a link in the show notes, so you can find it. If you want to help me keep telling these stories. Please consider heading to patreon.com/queersplaining and making a per episode donation to support the show.

Anything at all helps and is greatly appreciated. If you can’t do that, a share or a shout out on social media helps a lot too. Most people hear about new podcasts from their friends. So telling your friends about the show is really a big help too. Before I go, I want you to know that if you’re lost, you’re hurting, you’re scared.

If you feel like no one cares, no one understands. You need to know there’s a community out here that loves you cares for you knows that you’re capable of amazing things and that you are worthy of love. If you’re struggling, please, don’t be afraid to reach out. Until next time friends. My name is Callie Wright, and this is Queersplaining.