Sunday, May 10, 2009

Writer's block?

I've been struggling to make a new post, both since it's been too long since my previous, and since I have something to say. I just can't seem to make the words go down in the text box. But as the old saying goes, if at first you don't succeed...

Lately, I've been wondering if it isn't time to make a bold move forward with my transition. I can't say that I'm entirely happy with the idea - quite the contrary, it scares me to death. But at the same time, it's something that I want to do and have wanted to do for a long time, and it has been in my plan (such as it is) from the very beginning. I am speaking about surgeries. And in particular, I am speaking about genital surgeries.

I don't make a huge secret that I am opposed to SRS for myself; it's too big a surgery, and I don't feel like I need to be so radically modified. My dysphoria seems to be mostly social, rather than physical.1 The other side is that there are vast benefits to getting rid of some of those parts. I'll no longer need to take spironolactone, and the headaches and nausea and cost and endless trips to the restroom associated with it will be things of the past. It will also place me in a more natural hormonal state - a blank slate, if you will - so that the estradiol will be able to do its work without having to fight the effects of whatever residual testosterone is still floating around my body. It should reduce my libido, which does nothing but make me feel ashamed of myself. It will also help me feel a little more comfortable with my body shape.

So everything in the preceding paragraph says that it's the logical and correct step to take. Logic, though, is not soothing my shaking hands or flip-flopping tummy. Correctness is not easing the tears that are streaming down my face. I'm scared to death of what it means. There can be no going back. When I think about my transition in general terms, I don't want to go back, even from this awful middle point where I am now. But I could. I could if I had to. Cutting parts of me off, though, that's a threshold through which I may only pass once. No do-overs. No oopses. Done, over, period.

There are a million what-ifs that immediately spring to mind. There are not nearly as many "oh, it'll be so cool..." thoughts which are coming. They can't possibly overbalance all the what-ifs. I've said many times before that the what-if game only serves to delay, and never helps. But knowing that in my head, and feeling that in my heart are two completely different things, and I'm having a really tough time with it.

1 Thank you Helen and Betty Boyd for that bit of phrasing. It fits me well too. :)


laanba said...

My answer is always going to be to get more information. Are there people who have gone through the surgery that you can talk to? I think that sometimes we need to hear how other people have been in our same place to help us figure out how we feel or how to work through something.

Paul said...

Exciting times! I found your post from last year interesting in the context of the dilemma you're battling with now,


I love this 'trick' for making decisions and 'future pacing' into various realities. Maybe you already know it - here it is anyway: Grab a coin & assign your two choices to heads & tails. Reflect for a good moment that once the coin you would HAVE to do the action. Really get into it.

Now, flip.

That instantaneous sensation when you process the consequences has, for me pretty much every time presented the right path. Oftentimes, the set up reveals the answer. Deep down, you already know the answer, at least in my experience. I remember for example vacillating endlessly over quitting maths & switching to CS. I span on this for months and then when I did it, it was like "duh, of course!" -- huge relief!

Whatever you do, your buds always love ya :)

PS when I get to Houston we are SO going shoe-shopping...

Luminis said...

Trinity, hugs. You have all my empathy.

Really, I think one of the most damaging myths about transitioning is that a trans person will have no regrets or hesitation as they push to take all possible steps to modify their bodies. Medical practitioners hold that idea, and seem to act as if their job is to slow us down in a presumed unconsidered headlong rush for hormones and surgery. And, partially as a result, trans people often present themselves as unhesitant, ready to make any sacrifice without regret. Which makes other trans people question their legitimacy when we worry and hesitate.

Having to give up libido, sexual sensation, or fertility are huge things to face. Side effects of hormones and surgical risks are serious things. Seems to me few people are monomaniacal enough that they shouldn't feel regretful or hesitant over such things.

So: your feelings should be respected as totally legit. Facing them is a brave thing to do, and I salute.

Anonymous said...

Readers! And comments! Wow, you guys are awesome!

laanba, that would certainly be helpful, to find another perspective, from someone who's been there. Time to hit the message boards!

Paul, it's crazy that you're actually getting me to learn something from reading my own blog. But you're right on the money; all my anxiety about making that appointment, and it turned out totally great. I've used the random-chance method of the coin before, but for something like this, I'd rather Know For Sure. And deep down, I do know the choice, but I can't make it yet. Or maybe the choice is "not yet". And, shoe shopping when you're in town, it's so on, you have no idea. :)

Lumi, always a thoughtful voice of reason. And I think you've hit exactly what I'm concerned about: I'm going to have to give up a lot of things here, whether they're even things that I want, for a not-well-defined benefit somewhere in the future. That's not only a little frightening. I discussed it at length with my therapist, and she said that it's not a bad thing to take some time to figure something like this out. Nobody's pushing me, other than my own feeling that I'm moving too slowly. So I just have to silence that feeling, and figure it out. Time, talking, and thinking.

And again, thank you to all for reading and commenting!