Top Surgery Reflections

A year ago I had top surgery.

Honestly, I don’t know what I thought my life would be like a whole year later. I’m a published author. I’m about to graduate from college. I have a great group of friends and I really don’t have anything to feel bad about.

My depression is still kicking, but that’s never going away.

My anxieties are still there, but I’m learning how to cope with them.

I don’t really have the energy to write something long and well-thought out, but I guess what I want to say is that it was more than worth it. Top surgery was a terrifying concept — something I’ve wanted for so long and never thought as attainable until it was only a few days away. Even then, I was convinced something would happen and it would stop me from surgery.

But that didn’t happen. I got what I needed — because yes, I did need it — and now I’m in a much better place.

Top surgery was lifesaving for me.

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I’m in the process of writing a piece for Dear Adoption, a site where adoptees — surprise, surprise — write about some part of their experiences and submit them. Mine is focused on how being adopted has really effected my transition. It’s really hard to explain to people who aren’t adopted and when I can share links to it, I will. I’m excited to have the chance to put my feelings on paper, albeit digital paper.

I think to a certain extent, all trans people feel a bit of guilt at some point in their transition — then again, I really shouldn’t claim I speak for all trans people. I don’t and I never will.

But there’s such a persistent narrative of parents “losing” a child who transitions, or of people suddenly feeling like they have to deal with a whole “new” person. A lot of media seems to perpetuate this idea. And I think it’s further complicated by the fact that — personally, at least — there is the sense of having to kill off your old self. At the very least, you’re becoming someone new.

And while this new person isn’t a lie — they are, in fact, your authentic self — that doesn’t stop outsiders from feeling like you’re suddenly someone new.

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Back Home

I drove back to Arizona with my parents the other night; the school year over, I returned to Arizona and am currently enjoying my month off before launching forward into an exciting internship with East West Players later this summer. The last time I was in Arizona was in early January this year. I was very much ready to return to school but also anxious because I had a lot up ahead. Including, but not limited to, fundraising and scheduling my life around my upcoming top surgery appointment.

Getting ready for top surgery is probably one of the strangest experiences of my life. I spent the entirety of the weeks leading up to it convinced it was a dream, that something would happen and stop me from getting it. The night before, my parents and I had to rush to the only open pharmacy to fill a prescription that I had forgotten about. Yes, I forgot about a prescription. No, it wasn’t on purpose. Yes, that’s how bad my memory is.

I’ll probably write about the time immediately after surgery another day. But today I looked in the mirror as I got ready for bed and I realized — this is the first time I’ve been in Arizona since I got top surgery. Later this month, I’ll be spending time with people who haven’t seen me since I was on T let alone surgery. To be specific, I’m going to my high school’s graduation ceremony since I have friends who are seniors. I’ll see them, fellow alumni, and old teachers. It’s a weird thought.

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Regarding Survivor

Recently, a transgender competitor on Survivor was outed by his competitor during the process by which the contestants pick who goes home. The competitor, a gay man, was quickly shouted down and called out by the other members of the show and the host of Survivor, with the man who outed the transgender man being voted off. I’ve watched the clip and I read the official response by the transgender man, Zeke Smith.

My post isn’t going to talk about the event in detail, but this is the full text of the response and includes the clip at the bottom. I definitely encourage you to read it and watch the video if you haven’t already or aren’t already familiar with the event.

Now, I’ve got a lot to talk about because this is a deeply personal issue for me. In fact, my first reaction to hearing about this was horror. For a few years, there was nothing more terrifying than the idea of being outed to my family. Even today, hearing about stories like this (such as the outing of athletes at the 2016 Olympics, Lily Wachowski in 2016, and so on) makes my heart race, my head woozy, all of my worst nightmares come to life again. It’s so bad, that even now, a more or less out and proud queer person, the idea of having to disclose my status as trans to strangers is… not my idea of a picnic.

So yes, when I first heard that another LGBTQ person had been outed in a wildly public setting, I couldn’t bring myself to open the article. But then I started to read about how Smith reacted, how his fellow cast mates supported him including the usually-neutral host. And that convinced me to give the article a chance. I’m glad I did.

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Letter To My Former Self

Dear Deadname,

I’m sorry. I’m sorry because life is hard right now and you’re twelve and I want to tell you that it gets better. That everything is solved and you’re happy and popular and love yourself. But I am doing my damnedest not to lie, not to anyone and not to you. So I won’t tell you that everything, in seven long years, is ok. Because it isn’t. It hasn’t been for a while. And that’s ok. You are going to be ok. You are going to survive, I promise. You are going to get into the college of your dreams and you are going to find yourself and find friends who love you because of who you are, not because of who you pretend to be.

But it takes time. You’re going to hate your parents. They’re going to hurt you and stab you in the back repeatedly even as they say they love you. Understand,  and this is not absolving them of their harm, but you must understand that they do. And when things seem the darkest it might not be what you want so I won’t tell you  to rely on them but know that they are there for you. Even when you make bad decisions, they’ll be there to catch you. I guess that’s what parents are for.

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