Face Time

Ok, it’s hit me. The magnitude of what I’m about to do has finally hit me after months of being so bogged down with work, Boomer having surgery but then becoming really ill & various non-work related stresses. But there are no more distractions now. Tomorrow I will be having my facial surgery.

I love being busy. It keeps me going, keeps me focused and it takes my mind off other things that are less important or, more importantly: things I don’t know how to process/deal with. With so much going on in other areas of my life, I’ve hardly had time to think about my face since I booked it months ago. Whilst a lot of people have said I’ll be fine, I still feel…well, emotional, about it. In fact I’ve been way more emotional about everything in general since I started HRT, which doesn’t help. Fun fact: when I used to attend group psychotherapy sessions for borderline personality disorder, there was a guy there who used to come out with stuff like “I wish someone would just inject me with oestrogen so I can feel”. At the time everyone in the room was like “ermmm, ooookay” but in a way he was right. Since HRT started, I’ve been way more touch with emotions. So yeh, as surgery day crept up on me, and I ran out of things with which to stay occupied (or distracted), I began to consider things more and it’s totally hit me like a massive wave. I’m currently writing this on the train down to London. There have been a few moments where I’ve wanted to suddenly cry, but so far I’ve managed to keep myself together.

Facial surgery is still something I really want, let’s not get confused about that. And as I explained in my previous post, I’m doing this on my own terms. For me, so I can be happy within my own body. It’s just that I haven’t been able to deal with the emotions surrounding it. I mean, it’s about to happen tomorrow. TOMORROW. Fuuuuuuuuuck!! I’m finally doing something about a feature I hate: my face. Being transgender and being passable is a huge thing. It’s so important to so many because it means acceptance. No being stared at, no sniggers or laughs when you’re out in public and, in some cases, no violence. You can just go out and not have to worry. You can go to work or do what you love doing. You can exist. In peace. In my opinion being transgender and being passable come down to two main things: your face and your voice. They’re the two things that people connect with immediately in any interaction. Having started vocal therapy with Christella Antoni already, sorting out my face is the next big thing for me.

By now you’re probably wondering what I’m having done to my face. Whilst some think it’s rude to ask (I personally don’t think it is) or others don’t like revealing the procedures they’ve had, I don’t care who knows. I’m not ashamed about people finding out, nor do I think it should be a deep dark secret. When I was looking for a surgeon, I found some people were happy to offer help and advice, whilst others ignored me. People want their own privacy, only talking about subjects they wanted to offer. No problem. I respect that. Me? I see this as a chance to shed light on what transgender people go through and, most importantly, debunk any myths or horror stories about facial/cosmetic surgery. Let’s face it, documentaries you see on TV usually sensationalise procedures, focusing on the negatives for shock value…and ratings. Like with any issues considered taboo, talking openly about it is the only way to help more people, raise awareness and to reduce the chances of those surgery horror stories. I’ll write another blog post about the actual surgery itself afterwards (hopefully it will be live-streamed and I can get some footage/photos for my blog too). That’ll be more detailed and dedicated to the whole process. There’s a lot surrounding Facial Feminisation Surgery (FFS) that a lot of people still don’t fully understand e.g. it’s not about picking a (female) face and altering yurown to look like that. This isn’t the movies!!

My surgery is being done by Mr Chris Inglefield at The London Transgender Clinic. He was recommended to me by Dr Lorimer, who gave me the diagnosis of gender dysphoria and pretty much set me free in doing so. Mr Inglefield is a pioneer in transgender procedures and back in 2018, ITV made a documentary about him called Transformation Street. He will be contouring my forehead, to smooth it out a bit, as well as lifting the brow area. I get a free face lift too, so bonus!! He’s also going to transfer fat from my stomach area (as far as I’m concerned they can suck out all the stomach fat) to my cheeks, as opposed to cheek implants. I started jaw contouring through botox injections a few months ago, so that’ll continue into next year. Coincidentally, my surgery day falls on the 1 year anniversary of when I started HRT.

This is real life. Whether it’s fear, relief, excitement or straight up nervousness, there have been moments when the thought of what’s going to happen has caused me to panic and question myself…and even have a meltdown or two. In the past, before coming out, I never really cared if I lived or died. The dysphoria was so very intense. Since coming out, finally appreciating life and those around me, I now have things to live for. I have a future. This surgery will play a part in that. As much as I’ll be in safe, experienced hands, being on the edge of the next major step is humbling and overwhelming…and it really brings home the reality of what we do in order to simply be.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those who’ve helped me during my research for surgery. Those that got in touch gave great advice and I’m really grateful for the time they gave.

Featured image: by me

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