Sometimes you go into a city and other times a city goes into you.
(Your surgery packet is attached to this email. Your date is scheduled in our system. Please fill out the packet and submit it and return it to us as soon as possible.)
Surgery Packet Contains:
Your name is not the name your parents gave you, you are unsure if you still like your name or even want a name anymore, but this one you gave yourself cost 445 dollars and a day in court so you stick with it even though you don’t know if you still like it or not. You wince as you remember how your friend started a gofundme to raise funds for your name change and how they raised the money in 3 hours and when you transferred the money the next day, PayPal transferred the money to the default joint account that your ex-wife had overdrawn by 395 dollars and your name change money was now gone and how everyone on facebook was so excited because you’d already made a post about how your were on the way to the courthouse and it already had 225 likes and 75 comments (this was in november 2014 before the feelings of laughter and anger and love, the only feeling was like and it’s complicated but we made do anyway). Libby sent you a text message, she lived in Toronto at that point, she asked you how you were doing and you broke down and told her the truth because you could always tell Libby everything about your so fucked life, she was the one who rescued you into the IRC channel where there were more people like you, she saved you and provided you safe passage to a place where you could learn to like yourself better (love didn’t exist yet). So you told her that your account was overdrawn and the money to pay for the name change was gone and you were crying in Mellow Johnny’s Coffeeshop because you were scared and embarrassed and didn’t know what to do. So Libby sent you 395 dollars because Libby saves your life and you feel relieved and also guilty and Libby says “It’s nothing, go get your name changed”. And so you do. And the judge asks you “Will this name change make you happy?” And you say “Yes, Yes it will make me happy” and he says “Well Annika, I want you to be happy” as he signs the decree and that’s it your name is changed and the facebook update gets 770 likes and 330 comments and you save the link to the GoFundMe and promise yourself you will never tell anyone about how Libby saved you that day.
The Name Of The Procedures You Will Be Having Done.
Vaginal Deepening Surgery, Labiaplasty, Urethroplasty. You say this to yourself a few times. You think about your vagina and the recovery over the past 22 months since you gave your first birth. How your vagina is a now a mostly recovered wreck and invisible disability that you are not able to safely to talk about with anyone. This story has secrets, because vaginas carry secrets but because you are and have always been a actual woman and actual women are only mostly imagined to be true, our actual truths are not seen and we are mostly not known, we are mostly, if anything, alone with our bodies and our fears. “Is my vagina good?” you ask yourself. “Is it a good one?” and this cannot be known and it cannot be told it can only be experienced and god, just once, once, you say to yourself “I would like someone to take me and fuck me and pound themselves into me and please themselves inside me and on my face” as you remember the night you fucked yourself bleeding raw with your lelo sona and used your blood as lubrication, as proof that your vag was a real vag and your lelo sona weeks later is still covered in that same blood because it is now a talisman to what you want. You remember that after that righteous self-fucking how you continued to bleed for two more days and how this bleeding is now expected, your vagina has been bleeding for two years now, you long gave up the idea that you would ever have a vagina that you could understand or trust, so you just accepted it as broken and tried your best to not let that truth kill you.
You think back to the moment you were able to ask your friend to forgive you and she hugged you in the basement of Capitol Cider and you won’t say her name here but she knows who she is, we know, You, no. I.
I asked you for your forgiveness.
You hugged me and forgave me. I called the next day. Vaginal Deepening Surgery, Labiaplasty, Urethroplasty
The Address You Will Get Your Surgery At.
Dr. Bowers is an impressive woman who you oddly and unexpectedly aspire to be. She tells you that your vagina is, as you suspected, not a very good vagina. She tells you that you are not the first person she’s seen with a vag like this from a place named that. You know she is referrring to the person who forgave you, that’s why you’re here. Dr. Bowers knows that You know who she is referring to. She knows that we all know. None of us can share knowing we all know who all of us are, but we know.
“I am probably the only person on the planet who can fix this” Dr. Bowers says. You wish you knew how to fix yourself because there are things about you that are broken that Dr. Bowers cannot fix that desperately need to be fixed.
The Date to Arrive For Your Surgery Prep: November 25th 2019.
2 years and 10 days from the first time you gave birth to your body. Rochester was cold, the hotel room was shabby, your partner was anxiously supportive. You did the bowel prep at 10PM and 4AM and you laughed at how it was like prepping to bottom, only less clean and why couldn’t they just trust us fags to clean our buttholes because our methods are a hell of a lot more thorough than this douche but these damn doctors and theirmethods. So you stuck the second douche deep into your asshole and squeezed the chemical liquid into your rectum, you removed the douche and sat on the toilet and waited for the inevitable release to happen.
At 6AM, as clean as your butthole was ever going to be, you crossed the street from the hotel to the Charlton entrance of the hospital and gave them your NAME and CLINIC number. “Annika” you said. They verified your ID, checked you in, gave you your wristband and chaperoned you though the maze of hallways and elevators flooded with fluorescent lights until you had walked the outlines of a puzzle to the point that cardinality was lost and as fear was setting in, the chaperone stopped and a nurse at a desk looked at you and smiled and said in a cheerful and calming voice “Can I have your name and clinic number?” and she smiled at you and she saw your fear and this ritual of asking your name and clinic number was familiar and even though you were lost in the bowels of a clean hospital and scared shitless you leaned into that ritual and very proudly spoke your NAMEand your CLINIC NUMBER and an ease washed over you and she came around the desk and reached out her hand to point the way forward and led you to a room, where you undressed put on a gown and said your name and clinic number to at least a dozen more people.
The anesthesiologist was the nicest man who has ever held your arm as he prepped your IV and gave you a sedative. You said your name and clinic number and you swore he would remember it forever.
They wheeled you into a state of the art surgery room and you said your NAME and CLINIC NUMBER and they put you on the operating table and the anesthesiologist began putting electrodes on your body as the surgeon team introduced themselves and they asked you to tell them the names of the procedures “Penectomy, Orchiectomy, Labiaplasty, Urethoplasty, Vaginoplasty and..uhh…” The room laughed because the list was too long to remember and the sedative was kicking in and everyone looked so beautiful and it was the best day of your life.
The anesthesiologist said “You’ve done all the work up to now, I am going to put this mask on your face and at the count of three you are going to go asleep and let us do all the work okay?” “Yes” you say. He put the mask on your face and said “One…Two…”
You wake up in a pain beyond what you imagined a human body could feel. You have given your first birth. You have a vagina now.
The Date To Arrive For Your Check Up.
Dilating in a hospital restroom is an indignity few people should ever have to suffer. The person who forgave you knows this indignity too. The morning of your checkup you dilate in a bathroom of the Gonda building. You hold a dilator in one hand and a wireless pager in the other.
“At least the sculptures are pretty here” you say to yourself.
The Date To Leave And Go Back Home(to your uncertain future where you will recover and discover things about yourself that you always knew were true but just out of reach).
One month after surgery, your 16 year old daughter’s boyfriend dies of a drug overdose.
The funeral was very heartbreaking sad.
Your vag was bleeding, you missed dilating the day of the funeral.
The most important part of this story is that you saved your daughter’s life. You were able to find an outpatient care program for her. You are a woman, women make sacrifices, so you made them. Your daughter is alive, your vagina did not properly heal. You made do with what you had.
Deductible Of $2,500 (that you absolutely do not have) Payable By Cashier’s Check Or Credit Card.
Your ex wife, step daughter, daughter, son, ex-wife’s boyfriend, your ex wife’s daughter with said boyfriend, your ex-wife’s son with said boyfriend, are all for the most dependent on you. You never have money. Including yourself, you are supporting 8 people on your income. There is no you anywhere. Welcome to Trans Womanhood.
A List Of Hotels That You Know You Can’t Afford
You will be eternally grateful for June and Mary who let you stay at their house while you recovered after you gave birth to your first body.
A Pre-Surgery Checklist Of Too Many Things To Keep Track Of.
You will need adderall to manage this list.
Post-Surgery Travel is the absolute worst travel. There is nothing you can do, you suffer it in silence as women are wont to do.
Things To Bring.
When you were born your mom made you a “Numbers” baby blanket. You have had this blanket your entire life. You promise yourself that you will bring the numbers blanket when you give birth number two, you have convinced yourself that the reason your first birth didn’t go so well was because you forgot your numbers blanket. You also forgot your estrogen and went into menopause. That fucking sucked.
You remind yourself that for your second birth you will also remember your estrogen.
Things To Have Pre-Purchased For When You Get Back Home.
The most important thing you will purchase for yourself when you come back home is time and space to heal.
Sometimes, I’m here. Sometimes, I’m not here.
Dissociation is hard to describe, I don’t understand it much myself. Fortunately I don’t fall into completely illusory realities but I oftentimes…get a little off track.
Sometimes, there’s another person up front and I don’t think I have enough…of an understanding to know if I’m here or not.
I want to die a lot.
I also don’t want to die because, well, what I really want is a life where I don’t want to die a lot I guess. And sometimes wanting to die a lot is so overwhelming that I just get tired of feeling hopeless. And I feel so hopeless about never feeling hopeful again that I wonder if it would just be easier to go ahead and make myself die.
I’m not okay, actually. I’ll be okay but I’m not okay and I don’t know when I’m here or not here and I don’t trust myself.
but somehow I muddle though.