When I lay there in my pantaloons pondering

Prior to starting hormone therapy a few years ago, I had literally resolved to stop dating. Zilch, done, ~fin~. It was just, too painful and triggering. Every attempt was an incredibly potent reminder of how I was trapped in a body that felt disconnected and uncomfortable. It wasn’t worth crying every single time and spiralling into weeks of hopelessness. Without intimacy, I could wear a binder and never look at myself in the nude. Easy peasy. Solution foreva!

But, the idea of hormone therapy scared me. Socially, I was adverse to the idea of losing my visible queerness. Health-wise, I was terrified to head down a path that insurance companies and numerous doctors explicitly exclude and discriminate against. There's limited research that hormone therapy in persons assigned female at birth may increase cancer risk, cause liver damage, increase cholesterol, acne, etc. This aversion was further compounded by all of the seemingly insurmountable logistics, such as finding a trans-friendly therapist and getting “the letter”, finding a doctor, starting hormone therapy, changing my name, saving for top surgery, dealing with potential health risks and possible subsequent surgeries for risk prevention (e.g. hysterectomy and oopherectomy).

At the time.

I’d lived with the disconnect for way too long and prioritized my physical health at the expense of my mental health. So I crackled, popped, fizzled, and started. I had a full-time salary job with health insurance and plunged in. Therapist, letter, doctor, hormones - check! Then I began saving for top surgery. Then I was laid off. Job application after job application went nowhere. I was okay at first - but then, over time, I started to feel defeated and fell into a narrative of hopelessness. How would I save up for top surgery without money? How would I go in for much-needed physicals and check-ups without health insurance?

Going back to school prolonged my lack of having health insurance and being broke. When I forced myself into putting a donation button on this blog for my surgery, I really didn’t think it would go anywhere. But a little over two years and a very successful fundraiser later, I ended up with enough. I couldn’t believe it. Still don’t, almost. It happened! For real! I'm whole!

Everything about this journey has been the most inspiring experience. All of the support I’ve received is a constant, blatant reminder that despite a lot of obstacles, there’s a whole world of selfless and compassionate people. And we attract one another. I’ll live the rest of my one and only life surrounded by such super neat, giving, and amazing people.

So, there I was in my pantaloons, realizing all of this and wondering, how did I ever feel like this was impossible and hopeless? I did start hormone therapy. I did find doctors. I did change my name and gender. I did go back to school. I did get surgery. I did find a world of support. And I feel better than I ever have in my entire life.


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