Some Nice Hecking Tits

I wrote this for a plastic surgery support group, to make the transgender experience more familiar to them. It was well received, so I am sharing it more broadly.

 

These two photos, ten years apart, tell a story.

Alyssa, circa 2011, before she knew herself, in a green button-down Hawaiian shirt. Her hair is short and her features show the influence of the testosterone she had not yet suppressed.
2011.
Alyssa circa 2021, in a pink crop top and shorts with long hair, in all her feminine glory.
2021.

Ten years ago, I had only the faintest hints of where my life was heading. I was getting a degree that hadn’t yet finished burning me out on my entire field, the most dramatic shouting matches between me and my parents had not yet happened…and I didn’t look at all like I do today. Back then, I didn’t know I was a woman yet.

It would take a few more years for some of those shoes to drop, a few more dominoes to fall, a few more metaphors to mix, before that poor kid’s sad, sad eyes had any life in them. The time before that realization (“hatching,” in transgender slang) is a haze, fogged with the wrongness that every moment feels like when one’s identity is so mismatched. To be transgender and not know it yet is to wrestle with an opponent one can’t name or see or touch but whose every waking moment is spent tearing one down and daring one to look up and see the truth, all at once. It is exhausting, and it makes every other problem and challenge in one’s life into a fuzzed-out blur against that endless pummeling. There was so much I could not see until I could name that opponent.

Medical science worked miracles on me, once I knew what to ask of it. The established, accepted, medically recommended response to being transgender is to make one’s life and, if desired, one’s body line up with that reality. For most of us, me included, that meant a new name, a new wardrobe, and a regimen of estrogen to replace the testosterone that was ruining my body.

It was a transformative experience in every sense of the word. The stories about us that cis (that is, non-trans) people tell each other focus on the lurid outside: the obligatory putting-on-makeup scene, the genitals, the awkward dressing room moments. Transition is so much more than that for those of us who need it. The best thing that replacing my hormones did for me wasn’t these curvaceous hips, this soft skin, or finally defeating my persistent adult acne. It was the moment when the change in my brain chemistry meant that, for the first time in decades, I looked in the mirror and the person looking back at me wasn’t a stranger. Depersonalization is a frequent symptom of being trans, the mind protecting itself from the sheer visceral body horror of such a mismatched shape by refusing to recognize it as one’s own, and one day, before my eyes, long before the hormones had done much of anything for my curves or skin or libido, it wasn’t like that anymore. I looked in the mirror and I saw ME.

There were more steps to claiming myself. There still are. There’s legal rigmarole ahead of me due to my two-country existence, I’m still purging unwanted androgenic hair with lasers and electric needles, things with my family are vastly improved but still tense. But some big ones are done, including the ones that brought me to you lovelies.

Tragically, hormones can’t fix everything. A few years ago, I had the privilege of receiving vaginoplasty, correcting perhaps the most obvious of the frustrations testosterone inflicted upon me in the womb. A few years after that, roughly one year ago, I made a few more corrections in one fell swoop: four facial surgeries and my breast augmentation. Today, at last, I can look at this body and see no dramatic errors, no horror at my own shape, no disappointment, no pain that isn’t my chronic migraines and TMD. It’s mine. I did it. From that most inauspicious start, I’ve claimed beauty and femininity and all those other things that sad-eyed green-shirted young adult didn’t yet believe were possible. That 23-year-old could scarcely imagine the woman she would become by 33, or the life that that woman would lead, thanks to all the medical science she would take into that body to finally make it hers.

Maybe it’s not that intense for most of you. Maybe it doesn’t feel quite so overwhelming to see one’s old shape reappear after a post-weight-loss tummy tuck, or square the circle of an intense fitness regimen and a bust that feels appropriately hefty, or reclaim the proportions one had before birthing children, or just having some bigger breasts installed without any grander narrative. But I like to think that all these experiences have some of this feeling in common, this sense of finally coming home to oneself after a long journey one might not have even known one was on, of finally looking in the mirror and at long last getting to say,

yeah,

that’s me.

I’m here.

I made it.

It’s a thought I find beautiful, that something about me that would seem to set me thoroughly apart from the 99+% of humans who aren’t trans, could also be something that all of us here understand in our own way.

So here’s to the wonders of modern medicine, and all the glorious ways it lets us make our bodies truly, inescapably our own, even when so, so many people don’t understand why we’d want to.

And here’s to us, for coming home to ourselves, no matter how long it took.

And here’s to some nice hecking tits.

{advertisement}
Some Nice Hecking Tits
{advertisement}
The Orbit is still fighting a SLAPP suit! Help defend freedom of speech, click here to find out more and donate!

4 thoughts on “Some Nice Hecking Tits

  1. 1

    As a 30 year post op trans woman I totally applaud you and (the most positive accolade I can give you) envy you deeply. Testosterone really wrecked my body and I’ve had difficulty passing my entire trans life. Even after FFS (I was one of the first several hundred) passing was still an iffy proposition. So at age 58 I am going in for another desperate round of it. Ugh. I have tried so hard to be a woman, and yes like you i started in my 20s, and knew going in it would be really, really hard. It has been and then some. But if I hadn’t done this I would be dead by now. Of that I am certain. So I guess it’s been a bargain.

    And I never a period if not knowing what I was. It was always, as far back as high school, are you too hopelessly masculine to pull this off? Some days I think the jury is still out.

    It took an exacto knife in my hand cutting out my testicles at the kitchen table to finally push forward past the gatekeepers and naysayers. All I can say is… ugh, what a life.

    So every wonderful “becoming” story I love & applaud… and wish I had lived it.
    Hugs.

    1. 1.1

      It takes great strength to live lives like ours and you deserve praise for achieving what you have. One of my fondest hopes is that each story like yours or mine is close to the last, replaced by far easier journeys with puberty blockers, greater and more widespread acceptance, and avoiding entirely the difficulties that define so many of our paths. Thank you for your kind words, and I hope the rest of your journey is easier than its past has been.

  2. 2

    I envision a future where kids can acquire puberty blockers as easily as going to the school nurse and asking for them. After all, it’s your body, right? Even in childhood. I know that is fantasy and will never happen. The reaction from liberal broad parents is still some revulsion when them discover their child is trans. I see it as a race between the cries for help from the child to be heard in their gender dysphoria and the incessant push by society and family to inculcate shame on the child for those feelings. And of course the ticking clock of impending puberty.

    I think about what happened between my telling my mom matter of factly at age five that I needed to go to school as a girl because I didn’t fit in as a boy, to feeling like I would absolutely die if she ever discovered my crossdressing and fantasy journal at age 12. So much shame had been ground into me even at that young age. Even today as I recover from my second round of jaw contouring, over twenty years after the first, I am on hiatus from seeing my therapist, as I still deal with depression and self esteem issues related mostly to being trans.

    At this point all the trans “becoming” stories start to feel depressingly the same, as do the anti-trans bills submitted in state legislatures by conservative politicians. I know we have a tendency to focus on all the success stories that make it seem like this is the easiest thing. I guess I just want to point out that for some of us, it’s a desperate life long grind to gain acceptance by self as well as society. And living at the edge of financial ruin for much of one’s adulthood to afford gender affirming care & procedures (insurance covered none of it when I transitioned).

    All because nothing was done during the first few years as a teen when my body started feeling the effects of T.

    It’s all so sad. All the human potential lost because of lack of acceptance.

    And I think the true percentage of the population with gender dysphoria is far higher than the number you offered. These days I hear stories in everyday interactions with other adults about their kids coming out as trans. I think we are in the midst of a quiet gender revolution. And that fills my sometimes bitter heart with joy.

    Anyway I’ll stop now. I’ve always enjoyed your writing, Alyssa. Thanks for letting me rant/ramble. May you have great joy in your womanhood!

    1. 2.1

      I expect you’re right that the fraction of the population that is identifiably trans will grow as acceptance continues to rise; I used the best statistic I could easily find, which necessarily leaves out people who don’t tell pollsters about their feelings or don’ recognize them. Your vision of the future is beautiful and I hope it comes to pass. I’m glad you’re enjoying your time here and I hope your womanhood brings you ever-increasing joy as well. It is a beautiful thing to be us, however difficult it can be as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.