Going Under the Knife

My decision to have “top surgery”

March 2019. 1 year and 3 months on testosterone and 4 months post-Op. It takes a year for scars to lighten up. Over time, scars will fade but will always remain.

I know people secretly wonder:

So why did you do it?  Why did you have surgery to remove your breasts?

The deeper answer is that I wanted my body to match how I have always seen myself in my mind.  I feel like a male who removed a defect that should not have been there in the first place.

Every time I hear that question in my mind – “Why did you do it?”, only one short answer comes to mind:

I did it because I could.

Life is amazingly full of opportunities and decisions.  There are few reasons to NOT do something.  As far as safety goes, after careful, objective research, I felt confident that the inherent risk of surgery was minimal.  I figured I was more likely to die in a car crash driving to work than undergoing a routine surgery and people don’t quit their jobs and stop driving to work to avoid that risk.

Safety aside, I could only think of two reasons not to do something:  fear and judgement.

Of course, surgery was scary!  What if something went wrong?  What if there were complications?  What if the results looked awful?  How would my body react to anesthesia?  What if I got a hematoma or a blood clot and ended up in the emergency room?  What if I was blindsided by thousands of dollars of “unforeseen” costs?  Would this be a mistake I couldn’t take back? Finally, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t asked the question: what if I died?

And of course, I hypothesized about what others would think of me and my decision.  Would people think I was crazy?  Would they look down on me?  Would I forever live with stigma I couldn’t erase?  Would everybody have the misconception that I must have been utterly depressed, filled with absolute hated for my body in order to do something so “extreme”?

Would I exist without getting weird looks ever again?  If I could not tell what people were thinking, would I ever get passed the horrors of what I thought they were thinking?  Was I a freak? Would I be a freak?

Surgery was the scariest thing I’d ever lived through – to be at the mercy of medicine, the invisible inner workings of my body, and the hands of a doctor.  Accepting bodily processes that can’t be seen and their reactions to extraordinary amounts of pharmaceuticals, being cut by a knife, giving up all control to survival mechanisms of the body, is the ultimate relinquishing of control.  With minimal understanding of the unconscious body while begging for patience through sickening pain, never ending discomfort, and debilitating nausea; I lived through fear every second.

Fear is just fear.  

There is something so liberating about going straight through fear instead of around it or away from it.  Fear in not a reason to forgo authenticity.  In fact, fear is just something that empowers us and for that opportunity, I have gratitude. 

Maybe none of “being trans” has been easy but it has given me the opportunity to look Fear head on and by going through fear, when seconds feel like an eternity, I was forced to live in the moment.  I could not exert control to reduce discomfort; I could only exist in fear.  That was the freest I’ve ever felt.

As far as the fear of judgment goes:  let people judge; they will anyways.  Their understanding (or misunderstanding) of me does not define me and never will.  I own my understanding of myself.  Furthermore, I proudly own that which I don’t understand.  Maybe I am crazy.  Maybe I am incomplete. Maybe I am always changing and growing.  I never want to be perfect.  All people’s judgment just fuels my introspection and curiosity of myself. 

So yes, I did it because I could.

All I have is this one life and only this one body walks me through that life.  Nobody can dictate the steps I take through life or shape my footprints in the sand as I travel through it.  They sure can’t control how my body looks and under no circumstance, can they tell me who I am. Hopefully I can inspire others to walk through their fear too.

Published by Christian

I am a Certified Life Coach at Out and Proud Life Coaching, LLC. I started out helping transgender individuals and their parents through all stages of transition. As a master of change, I have now expanded to also work with people who have a nagging feeling that they want something more out of life but are hindered by fear of change, transition, or difficult decisions. Please visit chrisjcoach.com to subscribe to my newsletter or sign up for a free 30-minutes session so you can experience what coaching feels like!

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