Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The View From One Year

So, here I am, one year later. One year from the big day. How has it been? Do you feel any different? Was it worth it? Are you happy now? These are some, but by no means all, of the questions that I’ve been asked in the last 365-odd days. Anniversaries have a way of making a person reflective, contemplative, able to see things with a new perspective, or through the lens of experience. Some of the questions are easy to answer, and some are not. And some defy answering at all!

Well, it’s easy to pick one to start with: how do I feel? I feel good! This has been a year like no other, that’s for sure. I set a goal for myself, a major goal, and I succeeded at it. It’s not necessarily the goal you were thinking, either. I’ll be coming back to that. I’m in a good place right now, and it’s simply because I’m just living the life the way I had dreamed of for so long. The craziness of the “transitional” years is behind me, and I can set my own requirements for what needs to be done, where I’m going is up to me. It’s a great feeling to be once again on my own terms.

There’s a large set of conditions that have to be met in order to qualify for Gender Reassignment Surgery (or GRS). Most of them can’t be met in a few days or a week, and a lot of time is occupied by fulfilling those. Not to mention legal issues, insurance questions and foul-ups, appointments to get to, and many other things. All of that is at an end! Everything is back in my own hands. I have felt a great sense of relief for quite a while now, just because of the simple fact that I’m through with that.

But is it different? Yes, of course it is. As I said, I’m living the way I’ve dreamed, finally. One’s self-esteem can’t help but get a large boost from that. Being able to do that, especially after hating the way things were for so long, does wonders for your emotions. It really is different! My outlook on life has improved so much, and I can’t imagine, sometimes, why I didn’t do this before I did. You’ve no idea, unless you’ve been where I’ve been yourself, what this does for you.

I think you can tell that it was worth it, too. Obviously, from what I’ve already said, it was. And I would definitely do it all again, if I had to. (Please, though, don’t make me.) Everyone has something they want to change about themselves. Some people have huge things, others have minor ones. I believe I can say that you will find doing something about those things is worth the effort. For most of you, it won’t take a huge effort, or it won’t seem like a huge effort once it’s done. For me, the thing that required the most will to do was actually deciding to go ahead and do it. It’s like the pebble that starts the avalanche. Once you’ve decided, you’re doing what you wanted to do, and what’s difficult about that? It’s getting over what holds you back that makes reaching what you want so difficult.

That goal I mentioned? Well, yes, at first it was this surgery that happened one year ago. In getting there, however, I realized that I’d already met my goal. The major one, anyway. I was already doing what I wanted to be doing, and that’s living my life, and showing the world, how it should be. It’s hard to see that, sometimes. Especially when you’re not done with what you set out to do! The surgery was the icing on the cake. It completed how I wanted my body. Again, another boost to the self-esteem. The real difference, though, had already been made, and it was in my head.

Don’t get me wrong, the whole experience in Colorado was huge. In a way, it was sort of a confirmation of everything I had done before. I remember everything in vivid detail. For most observers, that’s the defining moment. In some ways, they’re correct. It does mark an end to the major changes that have been made. It’s the end of the line. But, and it’s a big but, it doesn’t make a difference to the person you already are. The biggest changes happen inside your head. I’m going to address myself to those in line for, and those that are considering, this procedure. You, the person that you are, are not going to change when you have this done. If you don’t like who you are, the person that you’ve become in the time leading up to it, then GRS won’t change that. GRS is not a magic wand that will “cure” you. What is commonly called a “sex change” addresses the whole person, and not just your anatomy. You will be changing much more than that, and you can’t have one without the other. You’re not going to be a better person simply by having your genitals rearranged. I can’t stress that enough. Take your time, work on who you are, be the person you’ve always wanted to be, first. You’ll know when you’re ready, believe me.

If, on the other hand, you do like who you are, and where you are, and what you are, then you will feel all the better when you go through with it. I am genuinely happy that I did have GRS done. It gives me a sense of completeness, of correctness, and comfort in my body that cannot be matched by anything else. It really is the icing on the cake! I’m much the better person now, inside and out.

It was a wonderful experience, and I met some truly great people while I was there. I also met one person that did not live up to expectations, but the others are the ones I remember. I would like to thank Andrea, Karla, Robin, Janet, and Ann for making all of my experience a remarkable and truly memorable one. They’re just the people that I met there. My sister and my mother were there with me, too. I wouldn’t have wanted to be there without them. They all made what would have been a procedure that would have helped me be at peace with myself, become a special life-changing event. I can never thank them enough!

So, am I happy? Why, yes. Yes I am.