I’ve had Leslie Gore singing in my head…. “It’s my body and I’ll cry if I want to…” I know it’s “party” not “body”. “You would cry too if it happened to you” though. Which may be an obscure reference to my younger readers. Sorry. And for my older readers, I apologize for the earwig I just set loose in your head.
I wish I could feel all the time the way I feel when I play hockey. I am exuberant and overflowing with pride at every save I make. With each stop of the puck I am responsible for, my whole being is electrified, as copious amounts of glowing rare energy floods through my veins, melting body into soul. And even every goal that gets by, is fleeting disappointment turned into raw adrenaline and drive to improve. I am in my body in a way I have never ever been. Never otherwise am. For that precious hour on the ice I am content in my being, alive and powerful and energized and strong and limitless and… you get the picture.
I float all the way home, driving as if on skates. I can’t even explain how wonderful it feels. By the morning I am back to reality and the solid heaviness of my body. Trapped and feeling like the proverbial sausage (is there actually a proverb about a sausage?). The anxiety of having this (wrong) body creates cortisol that flows through me, bloating my stomach to further misshapen misery.
It’s hard to believe I have been (fairly steadily) keeping this blog for 5 years now. Harder to believe is that I am still whining about the same things! I have recently won a veritable coup d’etat in the body misery realm that provides the potential to mitigate even some of my melancholy. I appealed an insurance denial for masculinization revision to my chest. And I won. It was a group effort I can tell you, and I can’t begin to say how grateful I am to the many people (some total strangers) who got involved to help overturn the denial. It was shaming and painful. I had to bare my soul (as well as my chest) to complete strangers, some of whom had no actual business having any kind of opinion about me or my body. I was angry and resentful and basically a grumpy jerk throughout the entire process. I had to uncharacteristically reach out to people for help. My physician and the transgender advocate at Fenway put in a lot of time and effort and were with me in the final conference call with my insurance appeal committee. And, as I said, I won.
I had the surgery in early September here in Boston with a known *top surgery doctor*. I know lots of guys take weeks to heal and get back on track. And maybe because this was basically my third go-around with this type of surgery in particular, or maybe just because I am a parent and, as the famous saying goes, “parenting stops for no man”, or maybe because I am one tough son of a bitch, I was back up and in my normal routine within a week. I looked at myself in the mirror the day after the surgery and for the first time in my life saw (more or less) what I have always wanted to see. It was bizarre. And unnerving. And amazing. Despite the bruising and the thick gashes of scar and sharpie marker and glue, my chest looked like the image in my head (give or take) of what I assumed in my being my chest was supposed to look like. The surgeon cut and re-draped the skin of my chest so that it falls in a contour of pectoral muscle rather than breast tissue. The results are fantastic. At least to me.
So happy birthday to the new me and to Kaleidoscope Life. I have much to be grateful for as I enter this new year. And as Brother David reminds me again and again, it isn’t happy people who are grateful, but grateful people who are happy. Thank you all for sharing this most amazing journey with me.