CW: Surgery, Gender Dysphoria, Depression, Self-Harm

I collapse into a stressed mess whenever I think about transgender related surgery. Whether it’s gender confirmation, facial feminization, or vocal feminization surgeries, the very thought of these procedures induces an anxious mental state within me. Despite viewing these surgeries as necessary, I’m so fearful of the pain and cost associated with these operations that I avoid dwelling about them. I’m essentially paralyzed, forever stuck in a holding pattern of desiring a gender affirming medical procedure while also never doing anything about my unpleasant predicament.

Detrimentally to myself, I keep putting the surgeries off. While 3.5 years worth of estrogen have feminized my figure, the injections and pills alone still aren’t enough. I cringe whenever I hear my deep resonant voice, hate my strong male-ish facial features, and wish I had a vagina instead of this Cthulhu-forsaken penis. I just want to feel and be seen like the woman I am god damn it.

But no: I’m afraid. Afraid of the pain. Afraid of the cost. Afraid of the negative connotations. Afraid of what my dad might say. Afraid to do what’s necessary to be the real authentic me.

I use my lack of money as an excuse to avoid altering my incongruent face, voice, and genitals. Afterall, monetary issues can make expensive goals feel unrealistic. I can’t get a brand spanking new vagina when I only have pennies to my name, and that’s even before we discuss how my disabilities affect my income. I’ve never held a long term job without enduring a spectacular mental health crisis where I crash and burn. For me, money is an expensive commodity. I view expensive yet important trans related medical procedures as unattainable. So why even think about what I can never have?

This belief actively harms my mental well being for many reasons. Firstly, tying personal value to the minuscule amount of money in my bank account decreases my overall sense of self-worth. Secondly and more importantly, my lack of funds constantly reminds me that my transition goals are always far away and out of reach. The consistent reminder makes me feel hopeless. Even on good days, I’m self-conscious over my transgender identity, and when realizing that I may never be complete, I experience a mental breakdown. In severe cases, I will engage in self-harm, punching myself in the head until I fall to the floor in tears.

During these emotionally draining moments, self-loathing begins to seep in. I repeatedly think self-disparaging thoughts like: I hate myself. Why couldn’t I just be born a cisgender woman? Why didn’t I know at a younger age so that I could prevent the scars of male puberty? Why am I cursed to be this way? I’m such an ugly f***!

My situation becomes worse the more I dwell on it. I, to my shame, even begin to feel jealous of other trans people. On Twitter, I see friends and mutual acquaintances post about how they just had surgery, and as terrible as it sounds, I think about myself, wishing I could’ve had a procedure done as well. I too want to feel some semblance of personal completion. My deepest desire is to have a more feminine face, higher pitched voice, and a genital swap, yet those goals seem insurmountable.

I understand that these pangs of narcissistic self-pity don’t help me. Of course, I’m happy for my friends. They have every right to celebrate (and they should!), . I just wonder when it will be my turn to get under the surgeon’s knife. I’m getting impatient. Damn the money: I’m ready to have the body that I crave now.

After a weeks worth of introspective self-reflection, I know what I must do. I accept that I was born into a body that doesn’t match my gender identity. Even though I associate being transgender with deep emotional anguish, I know that I can’t change myself with a nightly prayer where I wish god could change me into a cisgender woman. Despite knowing I will never be fully satisfied being in my predicament, I understand that the only way for my mind and body to be whole is to woman-up and start the process of receiving the healthcare that I need.

I’m ready to move forward and maintain control of my emotions so that I can make the necessary adjustments to my body. While researching gender affirming care intimidates me, I’m done with my overly-familiar sense of self-pity. Putting my past depressive episodes behind me, I’m over hurting myself and crying about my misfortune. Forget the painful and complicated emotions: I know what I must do so that I can finally be me. It’s time.

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