Everybody has a list of milestones, those dates/events that are important to you in some way. Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries; it doesn’t matter what they are. Like most trans people, I have a few additional milestones, like when I came out to my parents (September 2007), or the day that I started hormones (16 October 2009). A more recent addition to this list is the date of my top surgery (25 June 2012). On 17 June of this year, I underwent a hysterectomy. In the days immediately following this procedure, it hit me: not only was the date important because of the surgery, but also because my medical Transition is now, for lack of a better word, complete.
I’m not stopping hormones; on the contrary I plan on taking them as long as my doctor says that I can. But I have no plans for further surgery at this time, and as of last fall I have completed the legal aspects (changing name and gender marker). For the first time in many years, I have no big “to do” list related to my Transition, and it is relieving, scary, and confusing as hell.
Relief comes from the fact that on first glance someone will not automatically know that I am anything other than what I appear to be; that is, a man. With all of my documentation changed to reflect my true self, it would take some work for an individual to find out that I was assigned female at birth.
The fear and the confusion go hand-in-hand. Like many other people, trans or not, I’ve been so wrapped up in this one issue for so long that, now that it is gone, there is a gaping hole. Well, not gaping; I always tried to have other goals to focus on, to plan for the “after” that I now face. But it’s been interesting these last few weeks to realize just how much of my attention was focused on my Transition. For example, I no longer have to worry about saving for a surgical procedure or wondering if the insurance will cover it. After the mastectomy last summer, I no longer had to wear the binders (a great relief). Now, after the hysterectomy, I no longer have to worry about finding blood in my underwear (the usual sign that my testosterone dose needed adjusted). So I’m confused about what to do with all of this extra energy I suddenly have. What can I focus on now? What should I focus on now? Not only that, but I’m feeling the fear that comes with any major life change. I was terrified of going off to college; in the end, it wound up being a second home that I was sad to leave. As ready as I was to start my Transition, I was also a little scared of the changes that were about to begin. Now, though, I’ve become used to and love my body in a way that I never did or could before.
I’m also wondering what, if anything, my new status as “post-op” means for my identity. As much as I might sometimes wish otherwise, I am who I am, and my past will continue to influence me for the rest of my life. Because of my upbringing, I will always act and/or react in certain ways to different situations. I have heard of people who, once they are done with legal procedures and surgeries, choose to live stealth for the rest of their lives. As I stated in my first post, I just can’t do that. While it is not the overwhelming part of my identity, I am trans, and always will be. So while I muse on this and work on integrating this latest aspect of me, I’m also working on ways to continue to grow as a person. All of that energy I mentioned earlier? I’ve been putting it to use to begin another job search (my current job just isn’t challenging enough), work on my writing (I’ve published two fanfiction pieces since the surgery, worked on two more, and made progress on several original pieces), and figuring out how to meet the next goal of getting out and meeting people. You know what? Maybe this won’t be so hard after all.