As a transgender woman transitioning from male to female, I have to learn how to deal with my brain structure handling situations like a woman. I have found there are very real differences after experiencing both sides of the fence.
Men and women handle stress and intense emotions differently. Men tend to isolate when they’re upset, be “alone” to restore their sense of equilibrium. They need to do that because that’s how their brains are designed. Where as women need to communicate about stress and intense emotions to restore our equilibrium, that’s how our brains are designed (I’d like to acknowledge Naomi Wolf’s “Vagina” for the source of inspiration for the above).
As I transition I have to find new ways of doing things that solve my problems because some of the old no longer work. Things like stress reduction techniques, for instance. I was taught and learned all my life that when I’m angry or stressed out to just go somewhere by myself and before long I’m ready to face whatever it is. Now, when I do that it further stresses me, I just didn’t know that until recently.
When transgender folks on hormone replacement therapy transition our brains restructure to adapt to the new hormones. Now, the same experiences activate different parts of my brain I’m not used to. An example is I recently received bad news, it really broke my spirit and I naturally felt I should be alone. So I did. Only, that only sent me into a darker and darker mindset and before I knew it I was thinking thoughts that were totally imbalanced given the reality of my situation. In short, I blew things way out of proportion. It wasn’t until I surrounded myself with people to talk to and experienced physical touch, a simple shoulder rub in this case, that my equilibrium was restored. Along with my rationale, embarrassingly.
I needed to talk about what was happening and that was the only way my brain was going to be sated. What a learning curve.
I’ll admit, I find it lovely that such traits exist for me because it’s validating as a woman to experience life as a woman.