Spoiler alert: it was yesterday. But y’all know I can’t get my shit together, so here we are, a day late.
I’d gotten this flag to wear as a cape while I refereed the WeMawl (a women’s arm wrestling league in Western Mass that I belong to) competition a few weeks ago.
I won’t lie, I was a little hesitant to hang it outside, but that’s what the Transgender Day of Visibility is all about, right? Besides, my neighbors were going to figure it out this summer at some point when they see me sweating my ass off in the garden without a shirt on.
So my surgery was a little over three months ago.
Three months is kind of the “You’re more or less back to normal” benchmark for top surgery. If you recall, I was on restricted activity for six week following surgery, but those restrictions were lifted starting in the seventh week.
I’m not really sure what I had been expecting, but Week 7 rolled around and I was still in no shape to be doing anything. I called my surgeon’s office terrified that I had done something wrong. The scars were healing nicely, but I was still in pain. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, this is just how it goes. Maybe younger guys bounce back faster, I don’t know.
Recovery was brutal.
And it didn’t particularly help that I was a sad-faced sad sack of sad for like, the whole thing. I actually wrote a couple of blog posts between then and now, but I didn’t publish them, and y’all don’t wanna read ’em anyway.
Being active, going to the gym, doing projects- all things that help me manage my anxiety. I really didn’t appreciate fully what all those things do for my mental health until I didn’t have access to them anymore. The sudden drop in endorphins that my brain was used to sent me reeling. For realz, I haven’t been that depressed in a long time and it was scary. Clearly I survived, but it’s going to be a while before I put myself through anything like that again.
It really wasn’t until Week 9 or so that I started to feel even remotely able again. I went back to the gym (cardio only, ugh) and slowly began to ease back into life. And of course I went too fast and paid for it in pain, but nobody’s perfect. Things progressed pretty steadily upward from there.
Three months hit a week or so ago and I’m feeling pretty good. I’m looking forward to getting back into lifting at the gym and working in the garden. While it was really difficult doing all of this in the winter (my seasonal affective disorder is on point yo!) I really didn’t want it to impact my gardening. #HobbyFarmingPriorities
Before I wrap up talking about my recovery though,
I owe a shoutout and a HUGH fucking “THANK YOU!” to everyone who made food for us and helped me out while I was recovering. There is no way in hell I would have made it through without you guys. Thank you, truly.
I’m sad to report that my arms and shoulders are now too big for most of my T-shirts
For the record, my girlfriend is not sad about this at all.
I am now officially size medium. Why am I sad about this? Because I’m a low-key T-shirt hoarder, guys and MY MAGICAL UNICORN SHIRT DOESN’T FUCKING FIT ANYMORE and I’m sad about it.
But I’m a little not sad because biceps.
BUT T-SHIRTS! Goddammit, I’m so conflicted.
Testosterone totally blows my mind, though, because I really haven’t been lifting and yet my muscles are still developing. At the arm wrestling tournament, this cis man challenged me to a match after the event was over. It was a completely terrible idea, because I wasn’t warmed up at all and holy soreness Batman.
But I almost beat him.
Not bad for not having worked out in three months. Thanks Vitamin T! Just wait until next time, random guy.
Also, I’m switching pronouns.
Figured I’d just slip that in there.
I was waiting for the right time, because when I first began my transition, I didn’t feel like a “he”. “She”, if incorrect, was at least familiar. I know better than to force myself through any of this where it doesn’t feel right, so I waited, trusting that at some point I would know when to switch.
And it did.
I was on a work trip in New Hampshire. I was vaguely passing with some of the new folks onsite that I’d never met before, or at least ambiguous enough to make them wonder a little. While we were out at dinner, my boss called me “she” several times and to my surprise, I felt irked and disappointed. My boss didn’t do anything wrong, but I noticed that for the first time, female pronouns felt wrong instead of just feeling neutral.
It was time to switch, so I have. “He/Him” still feels a little weird, I won’t lie, but pronouns are a funny thing because people use them more when the person isn’t around than when they are. When I’ve had occasion to hear my own pronouns being used since switching, hearing “he” or “him” gives me this little zing of excitement and a moment of “Oh, they’re talking about me! That’s right!” I recognize this is silly, but after so many years of being “she”, being correctly gendered carries with it a certain excitement and bewilderment.
Let’s get this out of the way though:
There’s no need to tell me that you may screw my pronouns up. I already know you’re going to. There’s no need to apologize, just correct yourself and move on. You will get it eventually. If you use the wrong one and I correct you, trust that I’m not mad. If you’re genuinely trying, I will not be upset.
All I ask is that everyone just try. It will be hard at first but it will get easier.
And since I’ve talked about the Day of Transgender Visibility, I feel like I need to add a disclaimer to the end here:
I, and all the other transfolks who celebrated on March 31st, am very privileged to be out and visible on this day. That sounds silly to say, and I don’t necessarily feel privileged, when I’m, say, slightly afraid of hanging a flag out, but the fact is that being out at all is a privilege that not every transperson out there gets to experience. I live in a place where, if I’m being completely honest with myself, I’m pretty safe. Around the Valley, I’m more likely to be the victim of microaggressions than violence. If I’m assaulted at all, it is more likely to be verbal than physical.
At least that’s what I tell myself.
My point is that there are transfolks out there who can’t be visible. It doesn’t mean they’re weak-minded or not brave enough to come out, it means that they don’t feel safe enough to come out, and that is tragic.