[ discussion of puberty, gender dysphoria, and dislike of secondary-sex characteristics traditionally associated with women. body horror overtones/undertones ]
Seven years ago, I wrote a blog post called Everything That My Tits Have Gotten Me in Life.
While I still stand by every word of it, my reading of my own words has changed a lot in the time since I wrote it. As the memes say, big oof.
Misogyny sucks, but, uh, it turns out that sublimated body dysphoria sucks, too.
All these years later, as a happier person on every level, I recognize the seething, coiled resentment hiding under all that hot-take social analysis. That cold-blooded source of venom was motivation to paint the pictures I did in the way that I did. Like all snakes, it was misunderstood and vilified, its true role ignored out of deep-seated fear. I flirted with the idea that I might be trans but backed away in a panic from it for so, so many reasons.
Now that I’ve embraced the serpent, I can see just how bad puberty was for me. It wasn’t just misogyny or religious shame or social norms, it was the secondary sexual characteristics themselves. While I longed to hit puberty, it was in the hopes that I would “outgrow” what adults told me was “baby fat”, gain the respect of adults, and feel more confident and worthy, aka attractive.
Puberty did absolutely none of those things. I stayed fat, awkward, and ignored. And yet, I kept getting promised a better future that never materialized. The pain and sheer exhaustion of menstruation was worse than what I could have expected. “Don’t worry, it gets better as you get older,” soothed the same adults who had also told me I’d get thin after going through puberty. I believed them and was proven wrong again. Age adapted me to my period, but it stayed brutal.
Growing hips felt like my body’s worst betrayal because no one warned me about it. I was confused and angry about the strange jutting things when they emerged to disrupt the even sides of my torso. What were these unasked-for protrusions? Was it too late to put them back? Surely they had been hiding somewhere before and they could be forced back in? I felt ugly, asymmetrical, strange.
Then there were the even-squishier protrusions that were my boobs.
Even though they were expected and not shocking, I resented my breasts from the beginning. They were never the “cute” youthful, pre-pregnancy ones that the older women I knew sighed wistfully about. They sagged and bore stretch marks years before I had even hit my teens. They made my shoulders and back sore. They got in the way. They were big enough to make me ashamed but not big or full enough (especially on my fat frame) to have people consider me especially sexy or busty.
The only times I enjoyed them were when they provoked the reactions I wanted from the people I wanted. Otherwise, I wished for nothing more than for them to retract into my body when I was done exhibiting them for some purpose or another. They felt like an accessory I was always forced to wear even when they didn’t suit me or fit me, which was most of the time. Even when they turned others on in a way I intended and sought, they never turned me on regardless of the type of attention they were given.
Meanwhile, the changes from testosterone have made me feel happy, even the uncomfortable or less “attractive” ones. They feel expected, chosen, and consensual, where First Puberty felt like being forcibly morphed by something I never asked for and never understood. I’m a smelly, emotional, horny, neck-bearded, body-hair-covered, head-hair-thinning, pimply, insecure greaseball and it’s absolutely divine. It’s gotten even better as the intense initial puberty phase has let up some and I’ve adjusted.
Being a happier person has also meant I hate my breasts a lot less. They didn’t ask to grow on my body, any more than I asked for them to grow on my body. They did nothing wrong. Like an old roommate whose annoying habits fade into pleasant nostalgia after you move away from them, they are no longer my enemy.
For me, top surgery will be an amicable, mutual breakup from a long-term polyamorous relationship. Leftie, Rightie, and I have had a good run as a triad. 20 years is a really long time to stay together! We’ve grown and developed a lot together. They’ve shaped my life as much as I’ve created them. They’ve especially been very good wingmen/wingwomen (FYI they’re genderfluid) to me. A little shake and shimmy, the right top and bra… the look certain people got in their eyes upon beholding them was certainly enjoyable, as was what would sometimes follow.
However, it’s time for us to move on before I start perceiving them as a burden in this new phase of my life. They were never a great fit, and they’re starting to become a safety hazard. I’d say we’ve drifted apart, but they’ve always drifted apart from each other whenever they weren’t being forced together by a wire contraption anyway.