Thursday, December 31, 2015

Some Girls

Just my luck I had four older brothers growing up. It wasn’t all bad, I learned a lot about being a teenager from them, like how to be competitive, throw parties, buy booze, fight acne, and date girls, plus I also had access to their porn stash. At summer camp during junior high, I was known for my ability to draw incredibly realistic nude woman, which I had copied from issues of Penthouse and Playboy magazine. I also had two sisters, and would cut out photos from their cherished Cosmo and Seventeen magazines, as well as ads for lingerie from The New York Times Magazine, the one with the crossword puzzle my dad completed every Sunday.

As a young trans girl I was fixated and enthralled by pictures of women and pasted their images in a notebook that I kept under my mattress, next to few porn magazines, a copy of Are There you God, it’s me Margaret, stolen from the school library, and items of women’s clothes, hiding them and my desires from my family, living in fear of being found out.

The stowed away garments usually included bras and panties
borrowed from my mother and two sisters and the colorful catalogs and glossy magazines provided me an abundant amount of examples to admire. I learned about style, shape, and size. I also noticed how lingerie fit and looked on different body types. Unfortunately, none of the women look like me, or I didn’t look them. Either way, puberty was inevitable, and when it finally happened, the fury of testosterone coursing through my blood felt like a runaway train going in the wrong direction. My body betrayed me, and confusion and anxiety about my identity firmly took hold for the next 30 years.

It wasn’t until I was 44 years old, a time when many women are on the verge of menopause, that I embraced my identity and began to medically transition, which for me included taking female hormones. Like Margaret, the title character in the aforementioned novel, I was a late bloomer, but better late than never.  It was then my breasts started to show their first signs of growth.  And while I remember them being very sensitive and sore, I was ecstatic. They felt so right to me, like I was supposed to have them all along. 

Gender Dysphoria is a diagnostic term that describes a person’s strong, persistent feelings that their body does not reflect their gender identity. The symptoms can include severe distress, anxiety, and depression.  These can be so intense, that they interfere with everyday tasks, like getting dressed, going to school, working, and interacting socially. Beyond therapy, some trans folks, if they’re able, take additional steps to bring their physical appearance more in line with their gender.

A year passed and my breasts stopped growing, stalled less than a full A-cup. For the time being, I was glad to have anything, but I didn’t give up hope that one day I’d be able be able to fill out a bra without any padding. But my life was turning upside down, or right side up, and that day wouldn’t arrive for three more years. I was struggling with the challenges of finding my way in this world as a middle age trans woman. But I made do, like I had been since I was a child.  Fake it till you make it, isn’t that the expression. 

With a new job and improved health insurance I had the opportunity to make some more significant changes to my body and continue the process of becoming whole.  So six months ago I had major plastic surgery to alter my face and make it more feminine. As I recovered and became more confident in my appearance, I  realized it was time for the next step. So earlier this Fall, I met with a local surgeon to discuss getting breast implants. He was highly regarded and I immediately liked his manner, very professional. In addition to going over the procedure in detail, we discussed style, shape, and of course, size. With the help of a nurse, I tried various samples, fitting the silicone implants into my bra then looking into the mirror. I was immediately overcome with emotion. The nurse noticed and with a warm smile said, you’re going to love them.

It’s curious to me that when I started telling people about my breast augmentation, all they wanted to know was what size I was getting?  When I told them each implant was going to be 260cc’s, they seemed confused.  What cup size is that? They questioned further.  “I dunno, maybe a healthy B?” was my usual reply.  I wonder what people would have said if I told them I was getting double DDs?

It’s been a little more than a week since surgery and my recovery is going really well. I have some incredible friends, and they took great care of me the first few hours and days after the procedure.  In addition, my mom came for a few days as well, traveling from Massachusetts to help.  My instructions were to wear my less-than-sexy surgical bra for two full weeks after surgery, but I couldn’t wait that long to see the results. So last weekend, standing in front of the silver framed mirror above the fireplace and mantel in my living room, which my mom had just decorated for Christmas with evergreens from my yard, I unzipped my white bra and we both looked. There they were, my new breasts, a combination of nature, medicine, science, and perseverance. A very healthy B-cup to be sure. It felt natural to have my mom by my side at that moment, transporting me back in time, like I was the teenage girl I never got to be. It was the best present a daughter could ask for.

By the way, now that I have breasts, I wonder when I’ll get my first period?