The Unanticipated Downsides of Top Surgery
Top Surgery Is Amazing.
Being afforded the opportunity to have top surgery is something I will forever be grateful for. Not one hour has passed since my surgery where I haven’t thought about how free and amazing my chest feels. Don’t get me wrong, it has been absolutely incredible, and I have years worth of swimming and shirtless adventures ahead of me that I cannot wait for!
There are plenty blogs on how great top surgery is. In fact, I’ll probably write a number of them after this.
However, what they don’t tell you about is the mental impact of recovery. Here are some of the shitty aspects that often go overlooked:
1. Having to Rely on Someone Else For Everything
I’ve always considered myself to be pretty independent. I’m not one to ask for things from other people too often. Having to ask for help filling a glass of water, putting something on a self, taking my shirt off, putting socks on, or moving a chair is not something that I enjoy.
After a week and a half, it takes a toll on you mentally.
2. Having to Remodel Your House
I don’t know if y’all have heard of HGTV, but it is incredible. It has also made me completely hate my house. Beware of the financial and time-sucking burden of this channel.
3. Body Shaming
The FTM community is powerful; a tribe of brothers seeking their own unique truth. Social media is a great tool for sharing our experiences, but it has also turned into a bit of a popularity and a beauty contest. The experiences at the forefront of the social media-driven FTM community, and the ones we often associate with an ideal surgery are the ones of the 140-pound men with 6-packs, enormous biceps, and full beards; who’s incisions and scars are secondary to their mesmerizing pec muscles and masculine hips.
Sir, your post-op pictures are beautiful, and all experiences are valid, but this idea of perfect transmasculinity is bullshit. The magic of top surgery isn’t the perfect tan or your gorgeous blue eyes, it’s the high of walking downstairs to grab a cup of coffee without a shirt on. It’s the little things. It’s swimming, hot tubing, canoeing, hiking, and yard work. It’s the shit that you don’t capture in a selfie.
These are the moments that matter, but they’re completely lost in a community that sets us up with misguided expectations and desires. So be prepared to realize this the hard way. Top surgery won’t give you a 6-pack. But, what it will give you, is so much more meaningful that anything you see on Instagram. Take Instagram with a grain of salt, and focus on those moments instead.
4. Dysphoria is Still a Thing (Not sure what that is? Check out my recent post)
Top surgery isn’t a cure.
Aside from that first shot of testosterone, it is the most hyped-up moment of a transman’s journey. The shirtless beach days, the shredding of those dreaded binders..
Don’t get me wrong, I am over the moon happy about all of that, and so grateful that I get to experience it, but it is in no way a cure to the crippling dysphoria because the rest of those triggers still exist. Shirtless or not, I still experience it every single day.
5. You’re Gross
When is the last time you went 11 days without a shower? My suggestion: don’t.
6. Guilt of Missing Work
I hate to call it ‘work’ or ‘a job’. I love my team, my field, and my clients; it’s a lifestyle. But in the communications field, things move quickly. A week and a half is a huge amount of time to be not only physically away from the office, but mentally as well thanks to the pain drugs. It requires team members to put in extra effort to keep things moving and it’ll make you feel the most guilty.
(*Insert shameless plug about how amazing my team at 8THIRTYFOUR is)
All that being said – Is it worth it?