19 September 2008

No Choice But Both

So now I've about nine months and two and a half weeks until the surgery. So many metaphors, analogies and images present themselves to me about this time, and the coming months.

The funny thing is that I haven't been thinking much about the surgery itself. Sometimes, someone who knows about my situation will ask me whether I'm nervous, excited, or have some other feeling about it. The truth is that I feel all and none of those things, everything and nothing at all, all at once.

The thing is, the operation itself is really the hardest part of this whole process to imagine. I mean, for one thing, I'll be knocked out, so who knows what I'll experience. Will it just be blackness, or whiteness (as in Jose Saramago's Blindness)? Will I have dreams--And if I do, will they be any different from the ones I've had before? Or will they be different? More intense--or more banal(!)? Or will I have some kind of out-of-body experience?

I've had only one other surgery in my life: for a deviated septum, back in March of 1994. And, frankly, about all that I remember about the surgery itself was a Russian woman named Abromovitz who introduced herself and rasped, "I will be your anaesthesiologist."

"You're an anaesthesiologist?"

"Y-eee-s..." She looked baffled.

"So you put people to sleep for a living?"

"I do."

"So do I."

"Are you anaesthesiologist, too?"

"Oh, no. I'm an English professor."

At least I got to fall asleep to some laughter. Will that happen when I go for "the" surgery? Will I want that? Will I need it?

It won't make a difference, really. Once I'm out, I'm out. And, barring any problems, the surgery will begin.

But I have such a hard time imagining it. I know it won't be like the surgery to repair my deviated septum. But what else is even a remote comparison?

Maybe the fact that I can't imagine it is the reason why I feel a little nervous , and probably will feel more so as the date looms near, but I don't feel afraid. Somehow I wouldn't mind remaining in this frame of mind right up until I'm lying on the hospital table.

So what do I do now? I imagine what I'll be like after the surgery: I can even more or less envision (What's an emotional equivalent to this?) what a "new" orgasm will feel like. Or how my body might change in other, more subtle ways. And how I expect to feel more complete and more whole than I have ever felt. About that last one: The surgery won't accomplish that all by itself, of course: It will simply be a culmination of all of the things I've done, and that have happened to me, along the way.

That's about as much as I can say about it right now. So there's the present and future. For the latter, there are images, because all I can do is imagine it--even though, somehow, I can draw a clearer picture of it than I can of the surgery itself. In some ways, it will be like the past five years: the time I have spent living as a woman. I'll be using the same bathrooms and dressing rooms. I'm guessing that those who accept me as a woman now will continue to do so after my surgery. And those who don't--well, I'm not sure I'd want them, and if they decided to accept me afterward, I'm not sure I'd reciporicate.

As for the present: This is where the metaphors and analogies come in. Sometimes I see a train that's about to be taken out of service and is making its final runs, or a ship on its last voyages before it is decommissioned. You might call me a "lame duck" man, serving out "his" time until he "becomes" a woman.

But at the same time, there are so many things I want to do. I don't want to wait until after my surgery to get my novel published. And I don't want to put off any creative project, no matter how big it is and how long it may take to complete. But I also don't want to wonder what's next after the surgery: I want to leave myself something to look forward to--apart from having had the surgery and gotten into a nice feminine female portrait.

Waiting or doing? I have no choice but both.

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