...to go until surgery, and I hang suspended between an old unsustainable life and a new unguessable one. It’s a squirmy time, seldom comfortable, but I feel a deep sense of rightness. Yes, it is drastic what I am about to do, but it is the right choice for me. Or the right gamble: there is no way to know what it will be like until it is done, and once it’s done there’s no turning back.
I also hang suspended between two fundamental modes of sexuality - yang and yin, out and in. I have to stop taking hormones next week, so the accoutrement, which the estrogen has rendered more or less inert for the past two years, will be once again serviceable, and I could, if I wanted, try to find someone to help me take it for one last spin. Last chance to be the one with the phallus. I’ve thought of it more than once...but, nah. The last several times I tried it felt awful, and once I thought I was going to die. I’m already *so* done with that.
Then there is the other half: soon I will have a vagina. By fall sometime I will be allowed to seek a moment, if I want, where the other person is the one with the phallus, and I am the one with the yielding inwardness. I haven’t the least clue what that will be like. I think it might be wonderful, but I can’t imagine. I will own to a slow-waking but powerful curiosity.
What I’m mostly looking forward to is the end of certain ongoing outrages. I look forward to the eradication of the unsightly bulge. I look forward to arousal without tumescence. I look forward to the permanent decrease in testosterone level: my body may become softer still, curvier still; more body hair may melt away; my face may become a bit more feminine. Oh, yes please, to all of these.
With arrangements pretty much made for this surgery, the implacable wanting part of my mind stirs again, and I find myself at odd moments already mulling the next step - breast augmentation? Facial surgery? Which first? How soon? Want want want want.... Dysphoria: proof that something can be intensely uncomfortable and incredibly boring at the same time. No fucking fun. I'm re-instructing myself about how important it is to take it slow.
It’s odd how big this step turns out to be. Afterwards I won’t look any different clothed, which is all anyone has seen for the past few years. I won’t sound any different. My mind will be the same (I assume, mostly). My daily life should be pretty much the same. Not like changing my name and pronouns, which altered every single social interaction. So what’s the big deal?
Well, on the personal level, I will have abjured maleness forever, in a way I have not yet; and the strong sense I have had for the past few years of romance and sex being on hold will be gone. That should be interesting.
Beyond that, I wonder about further social change. It’s a running joke in trans circles how often people ask or seem to want to ask, “Have you had the surgery yet?” Let’s push past the assumption of casual nosy prurience for a minute and look harder at that: people really seem to care. I get this sense of blunt atavistic sexual dynamics moving under our civilized veneers - alpha and beta, dominance and submission, the fucking and fuckable. For better or worse I am transitioning publicly: people will know I no longer have a penis or testicles. It will be fascinating to see how I am treated and how I feel in the world when that is true.
There is a third level of change: what I will call, for lack of a better word, the spiritual. My spirituality is not God-centered; it is based rather on a vision of existence as an elusive ever-evolving mystery and joy and beauty blooming out of the tension and play between fundamental opposites: all the colors between black and white; the spiral between straight line and circle; the evanescent present between the lost past and unknowable future; mortal life between eternal being and nothingness. If I do have a concept of God it is of one single Particle of Being which traces an impossibly complex path at an impossible-to-conceive speed through the infinity of empty space, leaving behind the afterimage of all that is, including us - and then existence consists of the God-particle being both there and not there at every point at every time, in an all-encompassing dance of paradox.
In this spiritual view, masculinity and femininity can perhaps be seen as opposite sides in a human form of this cosmic dance, as a being and nothingness each of which yearns towards the other, defines the other, completes the other. I'm not sure I completely subscribe to this formulation; and I also wonder whether it matters, or even makes sense, to say which one one is. Still, it feels natural to me to approach the dance from a feeling of what I understand “yin” to mean, and I know that to do so brings me joy.