Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Facial Surgery

A lot has happened over the past 10 months. I started seeing a therapist, started hormones, came out to friends and family, transitioned at work, and mostly traversed the legal hurdles of changing my name. I braved air travel and the TSA, hotels, car rentals, even Las Vegas, with my new identity and escaped unscathed. Some of those milestones were scary, some of them caused me to lie awake in bed worrying about how I would get through them, but in the end, none of them was as hard as I'd feared. Particularly transitioning at work, which absorbed hours of stewing and fretting, was so much more positive than I'd ever dreamed it might be.

So now I'm charging full speed towards a different milestone - facial feminization surgery. In just under 36 hours I'll be in surgery to have almost every aspect of my face remodeled. I'm excited, scared, doubtful, certain, eager and hesitant.

FFS, as it's called, is a controversial subject. Not having it says that you're confident and comforatble in the image you project amd that you don't care about society's judgments on feminine appearance. Or perhaps it says that you are naturally feminine in appearance or that you don't have or care to spend the astromomical  sums a thorough face remodeling requires.

On the other hand, having FFS may say that you are vain, that you are a slave to conventional views of feminity, or that you have delusions that changing your face will fix your life. Or it may say that you want to blend in, be invisible, or  just  have the luxury of not being read the first 30 seconds someone sees you.

I like to think in my case it means that after all of this time I will be able to look in the mirror and see someone who matches my internal view of myself just a bit more. It should make me appear younger, and I happen to like that. It seems to me that it will go a tiny way towards giving me back a few of those many years of seeing someone else in the mirror.

I'm aware that this will come at a fairly high price. It's costly, it's time consuming and a burden on those around me. It's major surgery - almost every part of my face and the underlying tissues, from the hairline to the base of the neck will be sliced, diced, ground down, built up, or otherwise disrupted. It will be painful and the recovery will be measured in weeks and months. I'm aware of all of this and in some ways I dread it. 

When it's done, I have no illusions that I'll be, in the words of my surgeon, "stunning". Nor will all my problems go away, nor will a lifetime on the wrong side of the gender tracks be erased. But if I can look in the mirror and sometimes see a bit more the person I've always been inside, if it makes me feel a bit more confident and a bit more relaxed out in the world, above all if I look a bit more like ME, then I think it will be worth it. 

So the bottom line is that I'm determined to go forward. From Thursday on I'll be out of touch for a little while... wish me luck - I'll see you on the other side.


  1. Good luck!
    Personally, I think it is awesome that you are doing this, and I'm excited to see the results.

    I think the criticism of FFS is bullshit. Its easy for someone who doesn't have to deal with the problems, the danger, and the hatred we face in life to accuse us of being vain or worse for doing what we do to make our bodies our own. People are too quick sometimes to form opinions on things they don't understand and speak vocally on it =(

    But anyways, I'm happy for you, and I hope it all goes by without event, and that you recover from the surgery expediently =)

  2. Naomi, hang in the with the hospital and the discomfort. I hope they give you some decent drugs.

    I am not surprised you didn't encounter trouble at work. In addition to being intelligent and fun to talk to, you are eminently decent and likable. People recognize that and don't care about too much else beyond that. I am, however, glad that you're feeling more comfortable with who you are and life in general.

    Hope to see you at Pycon, but if not, I'll have a Diet Pepsi in your honor. All the best. CBT

  3. Of course the bottom line is you feel better!
    Looking stunning does not make you a woman!

  4. Deborah Alessi is a co-founder of Face Forward. Provides probono facial surgical reconstructive services for women and children. For more info contact us.
    Deborah Alessi

  5. It is nice that you are honest, I always think about getting breast implants and really liked how you were honest about complications that could happen as a result....

    Deborah Alessi