A Little Off the Top
I spent a good chunk of 2017 talking about my relationship to my body.
Interviewers were seemingly fascinated by the way a trans person inhabits a trans body. "Do you hate your body?" "Why didn't you ever have surgery?" "Didn't you want to look more like a man?"
These questions are difficult because, well, it's complicated. There isn't just ONE answer to how I feel about my body. There have been times when I did hate my body and wished it could just be more... traditional. I've hired personal trainers and spent hundreds of dollars on powdery protein shakes to help me get buff (never gonna happen). I've poured time and energy into creative piercings and tattoos to help me reclaim this body and make it look the way I want it to look. I've endured rejections from men who just weren't ready to try something different. And that's all been really hard.
But for a good chunk of my adult life, I have loved being trans. I've invested a lot of time and energy into making this body my own-- those beautiful tattoos and piercings, each of which has a story, are reminders that there is joy in reclamation. My body is healthy; I'm able to dance and sing and hike and do so many things that bring me happiness. I feel enough comfort with my body that I can experience intimacy with others (which not every trans person is able to do). And honestly, I've always been thin enough and flat-chested enough to be able to get away with going shirtless at the beach and not turning any heads.
Then I had Leo, who has given me many gifts... including an extra 20 pounds and a differently-shaped chest than I had before he was born. I don't care about the weight (I actually appreciate having a butt now), but I experience profound discomfort with my new post-baby chest. Put another way, I hate it. Nothing fits well; in order to not appear as though I have breasts, I have to wear a very tight sports bra that constricts my breathing and leaves deep imprints around my torso for hours after I take it off. When I don't do that, I am so distracted by my chest that I find it hard to complete everyday activities.
So after much hemming and hawing, I've decided to pursue top surgery. I have so many fears about it-- taking the time off work and burdening my coworkers with my slack, healing time and the way that will impact Biff and the kids, out of pocket costs and how our budget can sustain that hit. But this is my Year of Yes. I tried to look forward to the rest of my life and think about whether it's likely I will change my mind in the future and not want surgery... the answer is a huge "no." Instead, I can only see futures in which I look back and wonder why I waited so long. Every day I wait is a day spent in a body that is needlessly uncomfortable. It will never get cheaper. Work will always need me. The kids will always rely on me.
Why not now?
I was so nervous to tell Biff about my wish. It feels so superficial. It's not physically necessary; I won't die if I don't do it. It took me weeks to get up the courage to tell him, but when I did he (of course!) offered his complete and unconditional support.
And so I am doing it. There will be consultations, letters written, orders made, measurements taken, forms signed, office visits completed, and so much more between now and the actual procedure. I believe the waitlist is 18 months long, so I have time to think and plan for my healing time. But I am excited for a future where my body is-- finally, FULLY-- mine.
A Little Off the Top
I'm excited for a future where my body is-- finally, FULLY-- mine.