Today I’m going to share something with you that I’ve hesitated to share for many years. On the brink of my first transgender surgery I pause for a moment and consider my journey to this point.
It’s 9:30 at night, the night before my facial feminization surgery. I’m sitting in my hotel room in Chicago looking around at the someone dark confines of what will be my prison for the next two weeks. I’m fortunate that my dad and his girlfriend are with me for support – I know in the coming days and weeks I am going to need to lean on them.
We had spent the day doing preparations – getting out and about before out and about will be painful and difficult. First we went to the doctor’s office – a humble building in a quiet section of town with a strip mall across the street. It wasn’t quite what you would picture when you think of surgery. No hospital bustling with nurses and incoming patients. More like an upscale physician’s office with it’s own operating room. The doctor gave us a tour of his office, and confidently described what would happen tomorrow during the twelve hour surgery. He took some last photos and measurements, said goodbye and encouraging us to get a good night’s sleep since the next day would start at 5:30am.
We picked up some supplies from a local Whole Foods store, then had lunch with Lisa, a caretaker who would be with me for the next week after the surgery to help with my recovery. Chicago deep dish pizza is probably not the best last meal before surgery, but we were in Chicago, and I’d never had it before.
Now I’m back in my hotel room, pondering the morning to come.
Girl in the mirror
I’m somewhat captivated by my image in the mirror. It’s a strange feeling thinking that this will be the last time I see this person. I think it will feel disorientating to look in the mirror for the first few months afterwards. It’s almost as though I’m losing part of myself.
I can see all my imperfections. All the things which aren’t feminine, and aren’t quite symmetrical. Yet there is a churning in my stomach. I’m a little fearful of walking away from the person I’ve known all my life. There’s a security in that old person, in her insecurities there’s almost a comfort, an expectation of not being perfect. After surgery the line will be crossed – there will be no ‘new me’ to look forward to, only me. To live with yourself for the rest of your life – a daunting prospect I had never before been forced to consider.
I… think I’m going to miss myself. My nose thats too big, my large forehead, my more-prominent-for-a-woman jawline. I’m going to miss the reflection that I both love and hate, and learned to love again these last few months as I went full time.
I realize that, even with all the substantial gains – in beauty, self confidence, self image – I’m going to be losing something that I’ll never be able to get back. I’m going to lose my former self. That person who carried me this far, on whose shoulders – burdened with gender dysphoria – I was brought into another moment, another experience, through another challenge. The person who lifted their head from the pillow every day hoping for a cure, praying for a life any other than this. That person who brought me to the doorway of my future, and handed me the reins, saying ‘Take good care of her, she’s special.’
What should I feel, as I look upon the last of me?
I’m filled with gratitude for the person that has carried me this far. With all their faults, and foibles they allowed me to be born. They gave me life, and living abundantly is the only suitable repayment I can think of.
Tonight I’ll go to sleep one last time looking like this.
Tomorrow I’ll go to sleep looking closer to who I am.
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