Fifty-Seven Days Before Surgery
There are eight unworn t-shirts waiting to be pulled over my head and fitted perfectly around my body after my gender reassignment surgery. There are twenty long and beautiful necklaces waiting to rattle against my bare chest when surgery is complete and healed. There are hundreds of beaches waiting for my arrival, waiting for the new me to walk their sand, swim their oceans, and woo their beautiful women. And there is one weathered brain waiting to be unshackled from the thick and tragic spell of gender dysphoria.
I’ve been counting down the days for what seems like ages. Wondering. When will I be able to hug someone without feeling even a slight hint of gender dysphoria, worrying if they could feel my hated breasts through the hug? When will I never have to wear my chest-squeezing, breathe-stopping binder again? When will I be able to walk on the beach with no shirt on and raise my arms to the sun? When will I be able to feel comfortable in my own body and think that I am an attractive human being? And of course, when will a shirt fit so perfectly? I’ve got fifty-seven more days until all of this is a reality, until my chest is finally flat and I can finally feel the freedom of being Ryan.
However, for the first time in my entire life I’m nervous about the surgery. Maybe it’s because I’ve never had a big surgery before or any surgery to be honest. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid of how my extended family will look at me afterwards, will I be able to go in the swimming pool in front of their children? Maybe it’s because I’m worried that my chest won’t come out even, my nipples won’t line up and I won’t look like the model boys in the magazines as I had always wished and hoped. Maybe it’s because I’ve been in this body for the last eighteen years of my life and now almost suddenly a drastic change will occur, and this drastic change will occur over night.
A large portion of my fear is that I won’t be happy after my surgery. I always ask myself “Top surgery and then what? Will I be happy with just one surgery and no hormone replacement therapy? Will I finally be satisfied? Or will I walk through life never being able to feel satisfaction?”
I hope that I am comfortable with myself after top surgery. I hope that I won’t have to go on testosterone to get away from my horrid gender dysphoria and panic attacks. I hope that after top surgery I feel whole and real and free. I just want to feel whole. I want to feel alive again.
I feel most free when I’m playing an open air festival with my shoes off and my hair swaying in the wind. I bet it’s going to feel beautifully free when I’m playing an open air festival with my shoes and my shirt off, with my hair swaying against my back and with my hippie-beaded necklaces clanking against my chest. How could I not at least taste freedom then?
A good friend recently asked me “Are you doing this for society? Getting the surgery and all? Are you doing it just to fit in and to please others?” Honestly, I never really thought of this question before. Then I thought to myself for a couple of moments and I came to a conclusion that I knew that getting the surgery was the right thing to do for me. I thought, if I were living alone in a house that was secluded from the outside world, no phones, no internet, no newspapers, no TV’s, and no communication with the outside world at all, would I still have to get the surgery? It was easy for me to answer this question. I would still be uncomfortable in my own skin so therefore I would still need to get the surgery. I would still want my breasts gone and my mind would still crave that flat chest. I am certain in my decision but still nervous about how I will feel afterwards. I’m not nervous about my gender identity changing or wanting to reverse my transition. I’m nervous about my emotions and worst of all I’m worried about how society will see me when I’m through.