One year later—falling in love with myself.
It’s been one year since surgery.
I remember that morning. Checking in and going into pre-op. My anxiety sending my blood pressure so high that they pushed my surgery time back by almost an hour while waiting to see if it would go down.
I remember sitting in the hospital bed trying to mediate, asking myself why I was so anxious. Did I really wanted to do something that was irreversible? Why was nobody stopping me from doing this?
My mantra was what my friend Abbey told me: “I keep moving towards it, I must want it.”
Some folks know that they need bottom surgery from the moment they realize they’re trans. I was not one of those. But a year after surgery, my sense of self is radically different than before.
I did not grow up in a particularly happy household. I would read to escape. The coping mechanisms to escape that childhood trauma also distanced me from my dysphoria. I would dissociate, sometimes finding my mind floating outside my body as if viewing myself in a second or third person point of view. Those stopped after I left home and went off to college.
But I started having a few out of body experiences in the last few weeks. Except this time I found myself in awe of my life. I’d be sitting outside, reading a book and I’d look down at the skirt of my dress, watching myself in the mirror as I put my hair into a bun, or gazing down between my legs. Every time I would wonder at the fact that I get to live this life, in this body and realize I feel more at home in my body than I ever have. I feel more like myself. I am in love with my body. I am comfortable, at peace.
The surgical pains from the early months are gone. I’m no longer afraid to reach my hand down to scratch an itch. I know what nerves are where.
I don’t exactly understand how or why, but surgery opened up a lot of things for me. More specifically, it opened up so many things about how I work on and relate to myself.
I can easily imagine a world where my fears kept me from getting surgery. I could have decided that the safety and familiarity of not having bottom surgery outweighed the potential of joy. But a year later, I can not imagine that cordelia finding the euphoria in and love for her body that I do.
It feels like—just a few quick months before my thirty-ninth birthday—I am falling in love with myself for the first time.