Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Losing the plot

24 hours before surgery. I've been at my hotel in Chicago for a couple of hours, and I'm on the verge of losing it.

Admittedly, watching the post-op surgical care instruction video for the first time this late (and alone) was not a great idea.

I think a large part of my problem is that I think of myself as an atypical patient for this procedure. The more common client is older, committed to a gender transition, and willing to accept any price to maximize their chance of passing as female. The consequence is that I find these faces, in context, to be alarming - I wouldn't look twice if passing them on the street, but the idea of wearing a face that has been reshaped to that degree scares the bejesus out of me. That's not what I want to do right now; I want to have my gender cake and eat it too.

Which is odd: one of the things that has become quite clear to me is that the only things that I like about my face are the things that I've changed - piercings and permanent depilation. And I'll be looking out from it, not looking at it, so it seems that as long as it doesn't wind up misshapen, it's almost guaranteed to be a net improvement.

And yet, I'm shaking, nauseous, and in an amazingly bad state contemplating it.

Bittersweet consolation from a surprising source reminds me that I have a fallback plan - I asked for an option of a two-part plan some time back, and can still fall back to just doing the first half, which only touches the parts of my face that I'm entirely confident I want to change. Everything is still open to negotiation.

But when I start with the basic things that I know I want to change - nose, chin - it seems like the minor extra additions - cheekbones, brow ridge - are all net gains for small cost, and soon I'm back at the complete package and gut-churning terror.

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