Something is different. At first I wondered if I was imagining it but now I am certain. I’m definitely not the same as I was before I started hormones and transition. To some that would seem patently obvious, but when it’s happening to you, it isn’t so easy to see. I’ve recently had to grapple with what that means and trying to find my footing as this new person.
I don’t think anyone would argue that hormones play a major role in how we behave as humans. After all, much of our life revolves around finding a mate. We are perhaps most aware of the sudden injection of hormones in our early teens as we go through puberty. Things change rapidly as testosterone or estrogen begin flooding our young system for the first time. Boys experience a new interest in girls and vice versa. Often our behavior is erratic or strange. Parents are often left scratching their heads. I would imagine in some cases, my friends and family are doing the same.
As a male I found it an easy task to be calm and collected most of the time. My temperament went from calm to mildly happy and mildly angry. Rarely did I get into the ecstatic or furious ends of the spectrum. In addition, if I did feel these things, people noticed and reacted because it didn’t happen often and I was after all, a man. When men became annoyed or angry, people notice and listen. When women have these emotions the reaction from others is quite different. As a woman, I have to admit I am irritated far more often but also experience a higher level of joy and happiness. The pendulum swings are broader. Life is richer in ways I couldn’t have imagined before. The downside of this is that people take this for granted and depending on which portion of your behavior they experience more regularly you can find yourself categorized. “Bitch” would be one such category I have become newly familiarized with.
Part of the reason I find myself being “the bitch” is that no one seems to listen to what I have to say. In my experience I am universally less regarded when speaking and my status as an authority on almost anything has dropped significantly. When I speak to a man or even a boy about respecting me and things I formerly considered simple regard for others I realize it doesn’t work that way. I often see their eyes roll back in their heads and can tell, all they hear is wa, wa, wa, wa like the teacher in a Charlie Brown show. This in turn annoys me more and I begin to raise my voice in order to be more clearly heard. Now they really aren’t listening and I’ve crossed into the “Bitch” zone.
Once you have entered the bitchdom, it is almost impossible to return to being a normal female. Especially in the eyes of those you have been a “bitch” to. Bake them cupcakes, get them cards, bring a casserole, it won’t matter. They will be looking for signs of the bitch in everything you do from there on in. I may not understand everything about being a woman yet, and maybe there is another way out of being the bitch that I haven’t learned but at present I’m unaware of any.
Not that being a bitch is all bad. If you are a bitch then people will be more careful around you. They will fear re-experiencing the bitch forever after you first unleash her. In addition if you bitch out a man, they generally aren’t going to punch you. This allows a lot of leeway I never experienced as a man. If you confront another man in public as a male you had better be ready to throw down. Men are more careful about going to the anger place for that reason as much as any other. Women however can absolutely go there and are more likely to do so as a result.
All of this is new territory for me and as a mature person going through puberty I imagine a few mistakes are acceptable. Women understand better but to my male friends and family I have entered an unknown land. I suppose along with all the imagined “perks” of being a woman the were bound to be some unexpected turns in the road. Coming around the corner and encountering myself as the bitch has been one.