In the coming week, I’m having The Surgery and I have many intense feelings about it.
Disbelief, fear, anticipation, relief, excitement, acceptance, and gratitude.
Disbelief rides atop all. Am I really doing this? Is this really happening? Is this really my life? (Yes, yes, and yes.) Since it’s something I’ve wanted since my teenage years and it seemed unobtainable then, it’s hard to believe I’m here now.
There’s a certain detachment I have about it, which I think is coming from fear, and it’s not unlike the run-up I had to transition. After all, it is major surgery with potential risks and complications for something that doesn’t feel life-threatening for me.
Besides the physical risks, I have a fear of being on the other side and discovering it was the wrong thing to do; that it won’t address the self-doubt about being trans that burrows through my psyche like termites through wood some days.
I felt similarly about transition.
It was too huge a concept to keep all in my brain at the same time, so I externalized parts of it and only addressed what I could when I could. I have a feeling that like transition, I’ll be on the other side and ask myself, ‘Why did I put this off for so long?’ That’s cold comfort here in the fear zone right now but it doesn’t feel as black-box scary as transition once did.
I remind myself that if I’m delusional or misguided about it, I’ve gone to extreme lengths and overcome many barriers to get myself here. Occam’s Razor cuts towards I’m doing this for the right reasons.
The focus of my anticipation has shifted over the decades from titillation when I was a teenager to the more practical issues like being able to wear clothes that otherwise don’t mix well with my existing body shape and reducing risk if I end up unconscious and need medical help. I do still have anticipation about future sexytimes, but it’s on the list below other things.
Relief. Ah, blessed relief. I look forward to being relieved of having to tuck and worry about things shifting around down there. And relieving some anxiety about changing rooms. And relief from not having to worry about when I’ll have this step of transition behind me.
And I’m excited! Holy crap! How could I not be excited when I did so much work and had a bunch of luck happen to get me to the point of making a childhood dream come true?
Acceptance comes from realizing this is not the penultimate step of my transition, but just another, albeit large, one. Do I wish I had been born with a body my brain felt in congruence with? Yes. Do I think surgery will bring that congruence about? Not totally, but it’s the closest I can get at this point in time and I accept that as a positive outcome.
And gratitude. I’m grateful for the people who have helped me along the way by showing the way, by holding my hand in person or virtually when it needed holding, and kicking my butt when it needed kicking.
From the people in the USENET transgender newsgroups who first opened my eyes to the possibility of transition to the people of the Phoenix mailing list who shared their lives so honestly explaining what life was like post-transition to everyone at Ingersoll Gender Center in Seattle to friends past and current, thank you! I love you all. ❤
I’m very fortunate.
I’m on Twitter @cistotrans
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