i got gender affirming surgery. it helped me fall in love with myself.

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Y'all, congressional Republicans really fucking hate civil servants.

(Hey, if you have financial anxiety maybe skip this one. This post goes into a bit of the financial details of getting surgery and a bit of the stuff around it. If you’re waiting for a fundraising post, it will be coming shortly.)

The Affordable Care Act required that all health insurance plans to cover trans-affirming healthcare. Sort of.

The good news is that it means that my maximum cost for vaginoplasty—bottom surgery—is the annual out-of-pocket of my insurance plan—probably around $5,000. But almost everything else—facial hair removal ($4,000), facial feminization, breast augmentation—things that many trans femmes need to feel at home in our bodies—are not considered medically necessary. Neither is fertility preservation, so many (including me) have to pay to freeze (about $500) and store ($1200/year) sperm entirely out of our own pockets.

And it gets worse because surgery...

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A kitchen full of Taiwanese grandmas.

A couple of my friends here in New York had babies recently, and while getting ready, they found Chen Mommy Kitchen in Flushing (which in my brain is the Taiwanese Chinatown), which is a meal delivery service that makes traditional Chinese/Taiwanese post-partum and surgery recovery foods.

It is literally a kitchen full of Taiwanese grandmas making culturally-appropriate healing foods for new parents and people recovering from surgery. Healing foods from my culture. Delivered daily.

I fucking love New York. This is what I’m going to eat for my first month after surgery.

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I have four posts for this blog that are already beyond 300 words. All of the are talking about different parts of the journey to getting surgery but none of them are about what I actually need.

Along with those posts, I’ve also started two pieces for my newsletter and maybe a post for my professional blog. But again none of those are about what I need.

The problem, I’m realizing is that while I know what my goals are, I don’t know how to get to them. While several of y’all have offered to help, I don’t know how to ask for what I need because I don’t know what to ask for. What I need is someone to help me figure out what’s next. And the last time I tried to ask for help, it went poorly. Terribly poorly, actually.

The reality is that I’m afraid and I feel terribly alone.

And I’m so afraid of saying more than that because I’m learning that there are so many of these things that should...

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So is this supposed to be more of a livejournal, tumblr, or blagspot? Sure.

As I’ve been drafting more posts for this blog, I’ve noticed that I keep pausing because I feel a tension in what I want this blog to be. On one hand, I want it to be about my own experience, I want it to be a place to talk to my friends because I miss the ambient intimacy of the front porch. I miss having a place online where I could have quiet conversations with my friends that sometimes had really cool people walk by and bond over sandwich tactics.

On the other hand, I keep feeling that I have enormous privilege. With you, the friends and community of amazing people I’ve built around me, my words and actions can have a much larger impact than many, and with that come responsibility to tell a bigger story.

And yet, I need a space for myself to receive the love and care that I need. I have to keep reminding myself, my privilege does not mean that I do not have difficulties and needs...

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Sometimes a girl’s gotta deal with the anxiety by writing some javascript.

A screenshot of a MacOS widget that says "146 days until surgery day!" with the date "August 29, 2022"

There are three hard parts to to getting gender-affirming surgery: the first is getting an appointment and navigating the approval process—I’ve started a service journey blueprint that maybe I’ll share later (if anyone wants to work with me to make it presentable, that’d be pretty cool, too. The second is the recovery process, which includes nearly a month of bedrest and two more months of barely doing anything, including cooking. The third, of course is the wait while you panic over the first two going wrong as the pandemic evolves and people’s availability shift.

It often feels like everything is stuck with anything needed for forward progress is outside of my control.

So I had do something productive and make something—Scriptable surgery countdown widget for my ‘puter. You give it your timezone offset in ±HH:MM format, and it counts down to August 29. It won’t be more accurate...

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That’s how many days I have until I arrive at Mt. Sinai for bottom surgery. That’s how many days I have until I trade in my factory standard external equipment for something internal.

You would assume that I am excited and happy. All the other stories you see and hear about trans people getting surgery are all about how excited they are. About how ready they are. About the gender euphoria that they experience.

I feel almost none of that.

Almost. The only positive thing I feel is that I know this is the right thing to
do. But the rest? Maybe the euphoria will come later, but right now all I feel
is anxious, lonely, and overwhelmed.

That is what this blog is about. It’s primarily for me and those who love me,
but it is also for the other trans folks who are staring down one of the biggest events of your lives, the decision that you know in the deepest part of your spirit, and you still...

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