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.


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The long tail of recovery

Seven months since surgery! While the initial recovery from bottom surgery usually take about three months, full recovery takes much longer—often 12 to 18 months (with full nerve healing and sensation sometimes taking even longer). And... Continue →