I’ve been transitioning as a TransMan for the past year. I say transitioning because I don’t feel like I’m done with my preferred method of acquiring medical/surgical intervention. And also, life is a transition, so I’m constantly transitioning in all areas of my life. I celebrated my official one year on testosterone on June 20. I couldn’t believe this year has flown by! I have grown and changed into the man that I always hoped I could be. It’s been full of life lessons and hardships, and I constantly have to keep myself and my privilege in check. Being true to myself in terms of my gender identity has opened up so much for me. I started back to school trying to finish my degree in Social Work. I met the love of my life and could not have asked for a better partner. I’ve moved into a really lovely apartment. I’ve also been granted contentment, peace, serenity, happiness and joy. It’s been a life-changing year.
Right now, I’m trying to deal with figuring out how and when to have top surgery. I want to have a complete mastectomy with chest reconstruction so that I will have a male chest. I’ve been contacting surgeons on the east coast and looking at their work. I’ve called my insurance company. I’ve cried over money and time and travel. It is a huge deal. It’s a huge process. It seems never-ending. It is emotionally exhausting. It is taxing on everyone around me, especially my partner. I am constantly anxious and worried and have no fucking clue how I’m going to have enough money for surgery. My insurance will likely cover a set amount of the surgery, for which I am so grateful for. However, I will likely have to spend $5,000 out-of-pocket for the other costs of the surgery (anesthesia fees, doctors fees, cosmetic detailing of the scars).
I never ever ever ever wanted to be one of those people where surgery became a life-saving option. I never thought it would be. I have always wanted top surgery, but I didn’t have a time frame laid out for when it would happen. I thought that I would be okay in waiting for however long it needed to be before I was able to afford it. I thought that I would be okay with those certain body parts. I never worried about it in terms of being intimate with a partner. I just thought that I would be okay in wearing a tank top or rash guard when swimming. All of the things that I promised myself wouldn’t be a problem and would set me apart from other trans*masculine folk is starting to really bother me and disrupt my sanity.
I worry about my safety a lot. I know that I look male and sound male, but I can’t help but be scared that people would cause me physical harm if they knew that I had breasts. I worry that people will walk into my room when I’m naked or changing and see the top half of my body. I’m worried that my partners friends and family will ostracize me or see me or cause me harm if they ever suspected I had those body parts or saw my body. I am afraid that people can see my binder all the time. I am afraid to wear tank tops because I don’t want people to make assumptions about me. This whole thing has and continues to take a huge toll on my mental health. And pair that with worries about money and timing of surgery….well, it’s ripe for a lot of anxiety that I cannot shake.
I feel as thought I’m constantly irritable, worried, anxious, thinking about everything all at once. I think the worst part is that I could have surgery and nothing changes for me. It’s been suggested to me by multiple sources to strive for contentment and happiness right now, regardless of what I have going on (or not going on). And that is way harder said then done. I cannot accurately describe how much I need this surgery and preferably within this next year, hopefully even the next couple months. I think that I do need to find happiness and contentment and serenity. The surgery is no guarantee that my life will magically feel better. I may then just continue to fixate on my scars or not be happy with how my chest turned out. Who knows. It could open another can of worms I am not expecting or ready for. However, I need to have this surgery. Need. Need. Need. Need. My mental health impinges upon it. I’m just hoping and praying that if I ask people for help, that I will get it.
I’m not saying that I do not love my body or am uncomfortable with it. I love that I have a Trans* body. I love my body parts and the way they function. They are mine. They are whole. They are lovely and natural and beautiful. Surgery is a huge deal. I am losing parts of me, whether I love them or not. My chest however is me and it is not me all at the same time. I love it now because it belongs to me, but it also needs to be different. And that’s okay.