Six weeks post-surgery now. Healing is going fine, I guess. No complications. I can tell that the new parts and I are going to get along all right, but they’re still no fun. The sutures over the clitoral area and the labia minora are taking forever to dissolve, the long incisions itch, I’m still too swollen to sit without a donut, my back hurts from all the awkward sitting, and the aftercare is still a lot of work: three dilations a day until the end of September, when I will be permitted to drop to two. At least in a couple weeks I get to stop douching and taking sitz baths.
I still tire easily. I returned to work full time this past week and had to take a couple of short days, as well as going next door from time to time to the Women’s and Gender Studies house ('MPG has no unencumbered horizontal space) to lie on the couch. Healing is long hard work. I hope my energy will improve soon.
Also, I still have no sexual feeling. The nerves work, but even when it's not just annoying, stimulation fails to build to anything. I may never have an orgasm again. It's funny though: when you have no desire, you don't desire desire. I *have* experienced a couple of moments of tender yearning with both male- and female-bodied acquaintances - emotional instead of physical arousal. God, I am such a girl. And sexy may still come back. I haven’t given up hope yet.
But anyway, on to the really important question: how do I *FEEL*?!
Surgery has changed me. I find myself more than ever before floating serendipitously through life. Specifically, my sense of ambition has gone missing. All my life I have wanted to be famous. I have wanted to have my new book at the top of the New York Times bestseller list, or to sell out my one-woman show on a big city tour, or both. Furthermore, this wanting has had a resentful muttering tone...I'll show you, world...I may be invisible now, but someday you'll see just how fabulous I am, just you wait...gn mbl fbl ntl mbl.... I had a book proposal all ready to send out before I left for Montreal, figuring during six weeks at home I would have plenty of time to start pushing it. I haven't looked at it once. I just don't feel it.
I have two theories why:
1. With my testosterone down to almost nil, I am no longer motivated by the classic male logic that you should strive for the big time, because if you make it you can fuck whoever you want. Even when I was in its grip this idea always felt a little icky - remember, I was always a girl underneath - but it had force in my life. Needless to say, I'm *so* glad it's gone.
2. I didn't ever actually want to be famous; I just wanted to be alive, as myself, in the world. I wanted, desperately, to be *seen*, but I was self-repressing so hard that this could only come through the filters as a muddled desire for fame. And now, hey, look, I'm Lisa, all the time, for the rest of my life. I did it. I'm here. Everyone can see me.
Sooo, what about that whole GOTTA BE A STAR thing? Um...I dunno. Maybe not so much. Sounds like a lot of work and not much fun. One thing I am clear about: from now on I want to have as much fun as possible. Fun is extremely important. There must be fun.
Of course, I could possibly have fun writing a book and/or putting together a show, and maybe I could approach the work both in a more joyous and free way, and in a more mature and detached way, because my need to express my basic being in the world would no longer be tangled up in it. And, people have hit the big time with stuff they did just for fun. Richard Adams' Watership Down started out as a story he made up for his kids. Tolkien cared so little about the bestseller list that he almost wrote The Lord of the Rings in Elvish, in which case it would still be an incomprehensible manuscript lying on a shelf in the deepest dungeon of the Bodlean, waiting for some grad student to stumble across it.
Hm, what would be fun to write? This blog is fun to write, but so far it has escaped the notice of the editors over at The New Yorker. Oh well, there are other things too...but, I don’t talk about what I’m writing, or even whether I am; it sets up pernicious structures of feeling like I’ve promised something and now have to please someone.
Please yourself, is the (for me) radical, revolutionary new concept with which I have been tentatively experimenting, after a lifetime of utter self-effacement. At the tender age of fifty I am finally trying to learn how to answer the question, "What do I want?"