I sent of my one-month photos yesterday, and got back the verdict that I’m healing well, and I don’t have to wear dressings anymore… or as I like to say it: “I’m not just topless now, I’m undressed too!”
In all honesty I was staying overnight elsewhere, realized I didn’t bring enough dressings in the morning, decided to guess what the surgery’s response would be, and stopped putting dressings on anyway. I put a t-shirt on over bare skin, looked in the mirror, and laughed until I cried. Apparently this was the milestone in the top surgery process where I get to have all the feelings.
I am convinced that everyone has an inner disney princess somewhere. My uncle, who is a veteran in his 70s, goes out to the garden every morning to feed the birds, and has the chipmunks eating out of his hands – case in point. Anyway, I’ve always and forever identified with Rapunzel, and I love the film Tangled, and as I walked home yesterday morning I couldn’t stop singing the song where she finally comes down from the tower and touches the grass and the air and the water for the first time: here’s where my life begins, apparently.
I know that being in a different place in transition does not invalidate who I used to be, nor does it change what I identified as before. That doesn’t mean I started being non-binary when I chose to transition, but it does mean that for a long time I was non-binary and under the impression I was a girl. The life I lived before now is valid and valuable, but the life I get to live now feels right and complete in a whole new way that I’m only just started to understand. Taking my dressings off feels far more real in terms of transition than the liminal moment of healing – that was a body recovering, this is… my body. And I love it.
I do want to share with you two resources that I found yesterday, one of which I wish I’d known about before. Why on earth in all my searching the internet never showed me www.topsurgery.net I have NO idea. It duplicates a lot of the information that I started this blog to provide, and has really well-consolidated information about surgeons care and recovery. There are even some links to top surgery charitable grants (most of which ask for submissions around November/December, if folks are interested).
The other is this fascinating video, which is much longer than it needs to be, but shows a dancer’s transition from 3 years-old dancing in the livingroom on a home video to 26 years-old and a very talented performer. I love it because I love seeing the movement change and develop across time, I love the way his body looks after transition (role models are great), and I love it because I see a struggle I share, which is how to make sense of a past where you worked SUPER hard to perform high femme, and succeeded, and made a career out of a body that wasn’t yours. I was still playing young princess roles well into my 20’s, and while I knew by then that I wasn’t female, I found a lot to be proud of in how well I could do the thing. I don’t know how to incorporate that into a narrative of who I am now… yet.
I leave you with that as a puzzle to play around with, and I hope those of you going back to the semester feel ready for it!