The Pain In My Chest-Why I Need Top Surgery

tw/cw: chest talk, dysphoria, mental health, suicidal thoughts

When I was younger, I went through puberty as everyone does, but it definitely came with its challenges of conflicting feelings. I think there’s a big difference between dysphoria and disconnect in a trans person’s life. When I was younger, I had no distress about my gender and my body, I just assumed the disconnect was how I should feel, as my body was constantly changing.

I didn’t feel any distress about my growing chest, or the hair on my legs and armpits, even when I was told to be concerned about the hair growing and shaving so I could be “sanitary”, which I now know is a lie. So, by most standards, my puberty was a normal “female” one in the stereotypical sense. I consistently wanted a larger chest, mostly because I felt behind my girl peers, and that my body should have been farther along, that it was taking too long. Maybe because I wanted it to be over with?

I do remember, however, that I had an American Girl Body Book that I constantly looked back at the page where it showed a girl’s chest growing into a woman’s chest. The final product was large, rounded breasts, and I would stare at them in the book. Wondering when they will become that large, and dreading this outcome at the same time. It’s a weird feeling when you are completely disconnected from your body. Throughout high school, I stared at boy’s chests, constantly wondering what it felt like again to have a flat chest. I suppressed these feelings for a long time because I was confused about why I was having them in the first place.

Once I came out as bisexual, I embraced this identity and my sexual journey began, and in turn, exploring my body came next. I did this on my own. On the internet, in my room, on my own time and told no one besides some that I naively trusted online. But that’s a different story. While I explored my womanhood and how it related to my body, I only felt more and more distant from my body. I now realize that was because my body is not a woman’s body.

When binary trans people have disconnect or dysphoria with their body, they are typically content with moving to the complete opposite, needing to go on Testosterone and get Phalloplasty, in addition to top surgery. But I have never needed to go to the opposite end of this body spectrum. I just simply need to exist comfortably however that makes me look.

When I embraced the term Nonbinary and started to realize why that disconnect was there in the first place, I was relieved for the first few months. But then came the dysphoria. Once I was out to myself the pressure built up until I felt like I was going to burst if I didn’t tell my family and friends about my identity. And once I did that, I thought all the horrible feelings would go away. They did not.

These were horrible physical pains in my chest, these were overwhelming emotions that got so severe that I have had serious thoughts of suicide. This got to the point that one day, I was standing on the edge of a sidewalk one night, considering walking into oncoming traffic, my intrusive thoughts pounding in my head. Luckily I have an amazing partner that came to my aid. But it was getting extremely serious.

At that point, I had started therapy, and exploring these feelings about my body and what they meant to my mental health. But I didn’t understand. Why couldn’t I just be nonbinary and keep every part of my body that I have now? Why did I constantly dream of a flat chest, why couldn’t I just accept my chest? And I tried to. I pushed the feelings down and said, “I don’t need to change my body to be happy”. And I did that for nine months, until one day I was so overwhelmed that the night at the sidewalk almost happened again, and I spent the whole night crying, and I realized, “This isn’t happiness”. That I couldn’t force it, no matter how much I tried.

I would watch videos on Youtube of other trans nonbinary folks getting top surgery. Their whole journey, their reactions, and their recovery. I learned the ins and outs of surgery and how it would work and what I would want. I wanted to learn all of it. The more I learned, the more excited I got. I wanted it so bad. I needed it. I would watch other’s reactions to their new chests and sob uncontrollably because I was so envious and wanted to be in their place. At that point, about six months ago, I realized I had to start the process. At least schedule a consult.

I’m proud to say that I have a consult scheduled next month and that my mom has agreed to come with me for the process. My surgery probably won’t be until January 2020, but it’s definitely a start, and I feel extremely privileged to be able to go through with it, as many trans people are waiting much, much longer and having to suffer that pain in the process.

Of course, there are doubts, but I have already been through all of them that I could possibly have, and pushed them away. They are not more important than healing my pain.

Thank you for listening,

Rhian

 

 

 

 

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