“So tell me,” he said. “Why is that you feel top surgery is right for you?”
I didn’t expect that question. I was sitting in the office of a trans-positive psychiatrist to get my letter for top surgery. We had met once before, and like the surgeon I plan to go to, he agrees that I am a “textbook case of gender dysphoria.”
However, that question had me struggling to find an answer. I know why I want top surgery and I’ve been looking to having it done shortly after I came out nearly three years ago. But how could I put that into words?
“…I just…my chest gives me the most dysphoria, and to move forward full throttle with my theatre career…um…I want to be able to not have to worry about slipping on a sports bra for dancing and things like that…” I finally stuttered out.
“Okay. Now, you don’t have to answer this if it’s too personal, but are your breasts involved in intimacy at all?”
“AGAIN, I FROZE. THE STRAIGHTFORWARD ANSWER IS YES, BUT THE DETAILED ANSWER IS IT’S A PART I COULD LIVE WITHOUT.”
Again, I froze. The straightforward answer is yes, but the detailed answer is it’s a part I could live without. I feel my breasts during intimacy with my fiancé are like the remix of the hit single on a really good album- it’s cool, but I wouldn’t care if they were there or not. However, I would likely feel a lot more like a guy in bed without them.
That’s what I wanted to reply. Instead, what came out was an awkward, stammering version of it, with long pauses as I searched my mind for the right words.
He nodded before going on with more questions- why did I stop binding? What do I feel will happen when I have the surgery? He even asked me about raising a family- something I’m keen on doing one day. When I struggled to explain my reasons for being fine with adopting or seeing if we could save my eggs, but under no circumstances carrying the baby myself, he asked why. I told the truth- being a pregnant man would be the most dysphoric period in my life. Even as I said the reason, I just couldn’t feel I spoke with conviction.
As we talked, a million questions of my own ran through my mind- will he not give me my letter because I’m obviously not prepared for his answers? Am I doing the right things? Are these MY ideas and MY answers, or did I subscribe to ideas of what to do for transitioning and not let go or think them through?
…am I sure?
Even the day I got my first T shot, the question, “am I doing the right thing?” flashed through my mind the split second the needle went into my skin. A year and a half later, I can say, “Yes!” but of course I couldn’t tell myself that back then with 1000% certainty.
It seems like a common thing- being “sure” but then questioning your thoughts as you get closer and closer to doing whatever you’ve decided on, and yet are happy once you’ve gone through with it.
“IT HONESTLY SCARES ME WHENEVER I HAVE THAT LAST THOUGHT, WHETHER OR NOT MY TRANSITION WAS A GOOD THING.”
But during the questioning of your own decision, it’s a dreadful, miserable period. I think about if I’ll end up regretting it. I wonder how it will look and feel. I start to question my transition as a whole. It honestly scares me whenever I have that last thought, whether or not my transition was a good thing. There’s never a lingering or strong enough feeling for me to start regretting or thinking it was a mistake, considering what’s going on the other 99% of the time during my life- optimism, clear-headed thinking, happiness, feeling freer to be myself than I ever have felt…and things like that. But I’m usually scared to mention any of these thoughts, in fear that whomever I say them to will start leading me further down a path of, “see, you weren’t trans after all!”
This can’t be a secret anymore. We need to start being more open about any of the “unsure” thoughts we have, and talking about them to each other, so we can support each other through those painful thoughts. I doubt I’m the only one out there who has these moments of “what if I’m not?” They can build up to even worse thoughts (especially if you’re like me and suffer anxiety and depression, or any other form of mental illness) if held inside.
I’m speaking out about it now, due to my being tired and frustrated of being alone with these doubts. I’m tired of sitting and suffering, while letting these thoughts challenge my identity without real reason! I’m hoping for others to be able to speak out as well! Don’t hide, speak up! If you have someone in your life whom you can talk about these thoughts with, knowing that they will be a listening ear, and won’t further your doubts or concerns, by all means reach out to them! If you don’t have anyone whom you feel will be able to listen, there are plenty of online communities that will. You don’t have to walk through moments of doubt alone, but in order for others to help us, we need to start the dialogue.