20 July 2009

A Butterfly Under A Heat Lamp Grows A Fur Collar

I know...Forty years ago today, Neil Armstrong took his--the human race's--first step on the moon. If I were a world-famous blogger (or world-famous anything else), I'd be more or less obligated to say something about that historic event. Well, now I will indulge in one of the luxuries of obscurity: I won't talk about it.

Instead, I'll talk about myself. After all, isn't that the reason you're reading this? I mean, come on: I just had my gender reassignment surgery. Did you really think I was going to talk about some ancient space odyssey?

So what will I talk about that will take your mind off Neil Armstrong and the moon? Well, my body, of course! Tell me now: My body is vastly more interesting than the moon, or some guys on a spaceship. Right?

All right. So I'm going to talk about my body--or, more specifically, something that's happening to it. Or might be happening to it.

You might say that I'm going through a third puberty. Just what everybody dreams of, right? Or maybe I'm experiencing the latest stage of my second puberty, which has been a major part of my midlife.

So what sign am I taking for this wonder? Over the last couple of days, I've noticed fine reddish-blonde hairs growing just above the clitoris Dr. Bowers created from flesh that used to surround my male organs. I knew this would happen sooner or later; I was surprised only at how quickly I could see those hairs which, like the others on my body, are light and fine.

Of course, they are a welcome sign of my progress. Even more welcome is, of course, the development of my vagina, which at the moment looks like a mylar butterfly that was left under a heat lamp and is growing a fur collar. The basic shape of my new organs are there; all I have to do is to wait for the scars to continue their healing and for the skin of those lobes to camoflague itself with the surrounding flesh. I feel the twinges and tautness one normally feels with scars that are healing and skin that's morphing into its post-scar shape and color.

I've always heard that birth involves pain, scars, healing and re-growth. I haven't had much pain, or at least less than I expected. And the scars are neither as extensive nor as deep as I'd expected. But I can certainly see the healing and re-growth--remarkably, on a day-to-day basis. I never expected anything like that, especially at such a late date in my life.

But somehow none of the changes evokes as many memories and comparisons for me as the hairs growing just above my newly-formed and newly-forming organs. I really can't compare my new labia or clitoris to my scrotum or penile shaft, even though Dr. Bowers used those male organs to create my new female organs. But I can compare, not only the appearance of my old pubic hairs to my new ones, but even more important, my experience of seeing those first ones way back when with noticing the first of my current growth.

While my new hairs are a joyous (at least to me) sign that my body is on its way to taking on the feminine forms I'd always wanted, the hairs that appeared in the same area of my body during my teen years filled me with horror and disgust. Somehow, each of those hairs were--to use one of the world's most hackneyed comparisons--nails in my coffin. Maleness was, for me, a form of dying; becoming a man was my synonym for death.

On the other hand, most boys can't wait to see those hairs on their bodies. For a boy, having to take off his clothes in a high-school locker room when the area above his penis is as bare as a baby's bum at is about as terrifying an experience as he can have in the company of peers whose crotches seem to be covered with thickets. He feels exposed; on the other boys, it seems that each of those hairs staves off another physical or verbal jab.

Unless, of course, his pubic hairs grow in a year (or more) later than those of his peers. Then, those late-blooming brushes become causes for further ridicule. I know: That is what happened to me.

Entering manhood--or what most boys think of as manhood--later and less vigorously than the other boys in his life is worse than not entering it at all. Especially if that boy is anything like I was. The anguish and self-hatred that I already felt over being forced to live as male (mainly because no one else seemed to know there was any other way) was compounded by this seeming death-blow to any hope I had of, if not becoming a woman, at least not becoming a man.

And, one day, when I was changing my clothes, my brother didn't bother to knock on the door before entering my room. He saw that blaze of hair and ran upstairs, announcing his discovery to everyone else in my family.

To be fair, he was--if I recall correctly--about eight or nine years old at that time. Still, I hated him, and would hate him for a long time afterward. Not only did he violate one of the few moments of privacy I had in those days; he seemed to announce to the world that, for me, there was no turning back--or no turning at all. There would be only a life defined by the betrayal of my body and the expectations that it--or, more precisely, my brother's announcement of it--engendered.

Whatever physical irritation I'm feeling now pales next to the burden I felt then. At least whatever I feel today is a sign that I'm developing into the woman I always knew myself to be.

That's one short hair for a girl, one giant growth for....Naah, that won't end up in Bartlett's. But you get the idea.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

This Post is all about "A Butterfly Under A Heat Lamp Grows A Fur Collar".