Saturday, May 13, 2017

Excerpt: "I wish I was a girl"

Note: This is an excerpt of an 'autobiography' I've started writing. I have no immediate plans to release it but it's been interesting to try writing about what I remember from my experiences growing up. 

When 4th grade came along, we changed schools again because a brand new elementary school opened up that was closer than the one I had attended for the last bit of 3rd grade. I don’t remember a whole lot about friend groups but they definitely changed. The one friend I do remember was my best friend Amie. We met in fourth grade and were close through 6th grade until we went to Middle School and she suddenly seemed to realize that our friendship was plagued by my secret crush on her.

But let’s back up to 5th grade. I didn’t spend a lot of time out at recess on the playgrounds instead helping in the library but once in a while I would go out. One such time, I was hanging out with Amie, not by the playgrounds but all the way across the school campus by the basketball courts. It was a windy, cloudy day; the kind you expect in Seattle. We must have been bouncing a ball against the wall or something and casually talking. She was wearing her iconic grey hoodie and her dirty blonde hair was cut in a boyish bob haircut. 

“You know what?” she asked without pausing, “I sometimes wish I was a boy.”

“Oh yeah?” I asked, surprised.

“Yeah, “ she answered, “I mean they get more chances to play sports and stuff, I guess.”

“Oh..gotcha.” I thought and then blurted out, “Well I wish I was a girl.”

There was probably more shock in myself than in Amie’s face. Why had I said that? It had been almost a foreign thought from completely left field, maybe straight from my subconscious. I don’t think I'd even really shared that thought with myself before, let alone anyone else. 

“Why is that?” she asked, curiously.

“Um, er — I….don’t know really.” I stammered, my face feeling hot with embarrassment, “I just do.”

When it comes down to it, how else do you explain something like that? I mean there are benefits and disadvantages to both sexes and Amie had expressed one of her own but I wasn’t expressing a desire as much as a feeling. Somewhere, deep in the very core of who I was I felt 'female’ despite being told for the first decade of my life that I was a boy. And unfortunately, I was stuck. That was the lot that life had given me, no matter how I felt inside.

Amie shrugged and we continued bouncing the ball off the wall. In that moment, there was no judgement between us, just a mutually satisfiying moment of silence as our adolescent brains absorbed this new information about each other and about the opposite sex in general. 

Later on, I would justify my statements to myself saying I had simply said such things to compliment her own sentiments as a part of my ‘crush’ on her. Yet shouldn’t I just have agreed with her about boys and been happy that I had the privilege she was hoping for? And I would then go further with it trying to convince myself that I didn’t want to be a girl because of things like pregnancy and periods…..I mean who would want any of that anyway? I would learn to take on the attitude that I was 'lucky to be a guy'. It’s amusing to me that I had to put so much effort and thought into it though. The lady doth protest too much.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

FFS: 6 months Post-op Update

Wow it's been 6 months! It's hard to believe that just 6 months ago, I was struggling with recovery and couldn't wait to get the face mask/cast off. If you've followed my other posts on forums, you know that the recovery has not been easy. That being said, the first week or two was way easier than I thought it would be and way easier than a lot of surgeon's recoveries (from what I've seen). But I did experience a few unexpected issues. Anytime you touch something so complex as the face, there is a lot of potential for dissatisfaction and/or nit-pickiness. I mean we look at our faces in the mirror everyday.

What did I have done? Forehead reconstruction and rhinoplasty with Dr. Deschamps-Braly in San Francisco. I essentially only did upper face. It included a slight brow lift and not really a scalp advance as much as a 'keep the hairline in place' (which may as well have included some sort of scalp advance to make that happen). For the rhinoplasty itself, I asked for a 'cute' nose with a slight turn up at the tip.

I'll go through each category of concern I came across throughout recovery and tell you what the status is.

  • Tension Headaches
    • These are still happening when I get 8+ hours of sleep. I'll wake up with general tightness/swelling feeling in nose and forehead/front of face. It seems to go away within an hour or so of getting up.
  • Scar visibility
    • The scar is doing pretty well. I don't bother covering it with concealer anymore but I am still using the scar/sunscreen cream on it daily. I'm also seeing a massage therapist still for both scar tissue massage and lymphatic drainage. That being said, I do still notice it very much in selfies with certain lighting....esp (weirdly enough) car lighting. Also after a massage, it tends to be an angry red for about a week.
  • Swelling
    • I don't feel like there is much if any swelling at this point. The tip of the nose maybe? But it's hard to tell. The only feeling of swelling I get is the tension headaches in the morning. 
  • Jowels
    • After surgery, I noticed I had some handy skin at my jaw line (i.e.: "Jowels"). After a 3 month checkup and seeing those jowels indeed exist before the surgery, I assumed they had always been there. The doctor told me that since we only did upper face, lower face shouldn't have been affected. Maybe i'm getting used to them but the jowels are not as noticable or I don't care as much.....they definitely weren't as visible before the surgery but all I can think is that setting back features of upper face may just end up shedding more light on the lower face issues. I don't think I plan on messing with fillers or face lifts for another decade if I can help it. 
  • Wide Bridge of Nose / Nose bump
    • The bridge of the nose has come down a lot but it still is very much wider than it used to be and does still pull at the skin at the inner corner of my eyes creating a sort of 'webbing' of skin in the corners. It's a different look, maybe different ethnically too but it doesn't look weird or inhuman. I'm not sure it'll come down much more and the doctor admits it's what happens when taking out so much of the bone in the brow ridge/orbital rim; the skin has less of an incline to cling to for projection so the bridge of the nose ends up wider.
    • At my 3 month checkup, the doctor pointed out midway down the nose there might be a slight bump forming. I don't feel like it's currently all that noticeable and even though he has offered to fix it without charging any fees, I want to be careful about how 'perfect' I want to try to make my face. Every surgery has consequences (this one definitely did!) at some point I need to be satisfied with what I got and what did improve instead of worrying about perfection.
  • Eyes smaller, eyelids droopy
    • The eyes definitely seem smaller. The issue is really that my eyelids want to droop more than they used to. It's like maybe they didn't get pulled up enough to compensate for the loss of bone to wrap around maybe. I've been learning to open them slightly more when taking pictures. 
  • Scalp numbness
    • Surprisingly enough, feeling is starting to come back to the scalp! I can sort of feel pressure points in all areas of the scalp. 
  • Hair loss
    • Haven't had any more problems with hairloss and now I feel like enough has grown back in that I don't experience as much issues with hair thinning , esp when pulling my hair back. Also hair is growing in and around the scar itself too.

All-in-all, I look back on pictures 6+ months ago (before the surgery) and I'm often amazed and surprised to see how much my brow ridge and nose stuck out. I guess I've already become accustomed to my new face and I definitely feel like FFS helped to feminize and soften things and I've been much more confident without it. Add lash extensions and microblading and I now wear little to no makeup on an everyday basis.

What's next? Well 6 more months and I'll be 1 year post-op. I am hoping that the nose continues to come down and that the bump doesn't get worse. I'm also still kinda hoping the bridge wideness and eyelid drooping effect will go down more too and that the tension headaches will start to fade. I guess we'll see. ;) I'm leaving it up to "Future Debra" to decide whether I'll want a nose revision but right now I feel pretty good.

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