Content warning: surgery, gender dysphoria, body image, mention of eating disorder, depression, (very briefly) self-harm–
I know that a lot has been going on.
I just got out of rehab, I ‘m asking you to call me your son, and I want to move out.
And it seems like a lot is about to happen.
I know that surgery is scary and I know most people don’t understand why I would voluntarily undergo a double mastectomy to remove a part of my body of which most of my female friends are jealous.
And I’m not going to lie and tell you that I’m not a little bit scared, and a little bit sad.
Even though I’ve never wanted them, my breasts are a part of me.
Last week I made a video of myself for myself for later, with my bare chest exposed. And as I did so, I felt this strange surge of pride in my body – a love of every bit of me.
I haven’t ever felt like that…
There’s always been something I’ve hated or wanted to change. Some part of my body that I picked out to pick on.
But that day, even though I saw things I didn’t like, even though I saw things I really do want to change, for some reason, I still felt love and pride for everything. Including my breasts.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing that’s making me doubt my decision to get them removed, but I felt a sort of strange sadness that they’ll finally be gone – kind of like getting rid of a bad habit or something.
And I can’t say I’m going to miss them. Because I’m not.
But it still feels surreal.
My body will be cut open, the fat sucked out of me, my mammary glands thrown out along with my ability to ever nurture a child.
I’ll be patched back up, and wake up probably 10 pounds lighter…
And I will be whole, yet some of me will be missing.
And I will always love that part of me, in a peculiar way. I will always be thankful for the strength and courage they demanded I show as they grew (and grew and grew and grew) to declare to the world this was not me. I am not boobs. I am not woman. I am Schuyler.
But back to how you’re involved.
I like to believe that this body is just as much yours as it is mine.
My little brain, my little arms, my brown eyes with green flecks, my little fingers all grew in your body from your body.
And my body, though it has a separate consciousness than yours, is an extension of yours.
And I want you to know something as I move forwards in my transition: I do not hate the body you gave me.
People talk about transgender individuals being “born in the wrong body.”
As if being born is just something that happens.
As if there were not people and love and care and pain and happiness and joy and terror involved.
Born. Given life. Brought into the world. There is nothing wrong in that process. There is no “wrong” in birth.
I was not born wrong at all; I was not born with the wrong mind; I was not born into the wrong body,
In fact, you did not birth a body at all.
You birthed me; a whole and entire person.
A person with teeny little finger nails, tiny eyes and tiny hands, little itty bitty feet, and a huge heart… a whole person all the same.
A lot of trans people talk about how their bodies betray them and how they hate their hips or lack thereof, their breasts or lack thereof, their femininity or their masculinity…
But I don’t…anymore, at least. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my days of raging, of self-harming, body-hating… I’ve written a good deal of poems angry at my body — some on my body.
But these days, I do not hate my body.
In fact, I have worked hard learning to love every bit of myself – every part of my body that you gave me to love.
And I am proud of it all.
Because you birthed me whole; I arrived an entire person.
And through the past year of treatment and travel and just plain old life experiences, I’ve learned a love that I will always have
For this body of mine.
For the parts that I don’t agree with.
For the parts that I have always agreed with.
For the parts that are invisible…
For this body of mine.
Because no matter how life changes it, this body will always be beautiful, this body will always be something you created.
I love you.
© S. Bailar 2015