Big, Burly, and Beautiful

This piece was first published in the zine, Not Trans Enough.  Written by Rhiannon Robear; reprinted with permission.

One night this summer, I was at the gay club looking glam, and having a smoke break outside with my friends.   A cis gay guy came up to us and started talking about trans things in that “you’re a visibly trans and/or gender non-conforming person so I’m about to lay down all my trans knowledge, thoughts, and critiques for you” kind of way (a.k.a. completely unasked/unwanted).  Overall it was a real drag, and I brushed him off mostly, but then he held my hands and looked me in the eyes and said, “baby, I know you’re trying to be the belle of the ball, but the reality is you’re built like a 6 foot amazon linebacker, and you need to work that.”  I was taken aback like where the fuck do you get off telling me who I am and what I should do.  But as much as I hate entertaining cis-notions of what trans people are or should be, what he said was true, and deep inside me I knew I felt that and it was the first time someone told me that I could &should be a woman on my own terms.

The reality is:  I’m 5’11, probably between 250-300 pounds, hairy as all hell, and I wear size 13 women’s shoes:  I’m a big girl.  I spent years of my life identifying as a gay man, and trying to work at accepting and loving my body & myself in a culture that taught me that being fat & being femme made me undesireable, unattractive, and inferior.  It took me YEARS to be comfortable with who I am, and that process has changed me, and how I value myself – simply put:  I don’t do things for other people anymore, I do things for myself.

I identified as non-binary for the past two years, and over this time, I’ve slowly began to come into myself as a woman, and I’m currently in the process of coming out as a transgender woman.  It’s very exciting and liberating and I’m now out at work and am ‘test driving’ my new name and pronouns.  This being said, what I am most dreading about coming out isn’t being faced with disapproval or abandonment (I am privileged with supportive family and friends), but more about those in my life forcing feminine ideals upon me when I start to identify as a woman and not strictly non-binary.

In a perfect world, would I like to wear a full face of make-up, have minimal to no body hair, have a feminine physique, and be read 100% of the time as a woman?  – SURE!  But the reality is, I work two jobs, I’m a full time student, and I’m involved in a couple different organizations, and I don’t have time for that.  My emotional well-being is like, “you work at 8am, you don’t have time to put your face on for an hour every morning,” “you literally can’t even reach your back hair, how are you supposed to regularly keep that shaved,” etc.  Luckily for me, I think that the resilience I learned as a fat & femme gay man allows me to be comfortable in my own skin regardless of others’ perceptions.  I also recognize the privilege of being comfortable enough with myself & my gender to not be dysphoric to an incapacitating extent wherein I need to hold my body to a standard for public consumption.

Why yes!  I AM a woman with a hairy back – if it bothers you I’ll hand you a razor and you can shave it for me!  Until then please fuck off with your gendered policing and let me live my life on my terms.
Rhiannon Robear (she/her) is a 24 year old white trans woman living in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  She is a social work student, and is involved in many different campus and community organizations devoted to trans, queer, and feminist justice.  In her spare time she likes to knit, crochet, and watch tv shows.  Feel free to follow her on twitter @haliqueer or email her directly rhiannonmak@gmail.com


Summer of t-shirts #5 / Band t-shirts

I’ve been busting out some of my oldest t-shirts this summer; some of them I haven’t even looked at in years – I have them stored in a box.  Others I see, but don’t touch, every day – they are on a hanger, on the wall, like fine art.  After having top surgery earlier this summer, I have been getting to know my collection again.  And, it includes some really old gems, including band t-shirts from the 1980s.

Like this one:

The Police, from the Synchronicity time period

The Police, from the Synchronicity time period

This was taken 10 years ago, as part of a drag photo shoot.  It was most likely the last time I wore the shirt.  I can wear it again, now, if I want!  Although, maybe I better keep it in nice condition – I found the same shirt, in a muscle-t style, selling online for $71.82.  And my other The Police t-shirt (not pictured) is selling for $134.23.

I got this shirt for $5.  There is this amazing local record store that has tons of gems, but it’s really hard to locate anything.  The store is a mess, but in the 1990s, it was even worse.  There was literally a mountain of t-shirts, starting from on the floor in a space that may have been about 8ft by 8ft – it was sectioned off by railings, like a bull pen.  You would walk onto shirts and just start digging.  I found this, plus these shirts, and more (another The Police, Echo and the Bunnymen, David Bowie…):

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The Honeydrippers

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The Clash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They were all $5.  In the early 2000s, I went back to uncover more treasures, and I was horrified to find that they were all organized neatly on racks and hangers, alphabetically.  And none were under $20.  Suddenly.  And I would have probably bought more at that price, but it looked like it had been picked through extensively.  I couldn’t find any I’d actually want to wear or display.  Bummer.  I guess the influence of online selling had swept in, and cleaned up this mess.  For the worse.  Still, I am glad I was able to get a piece of it while it lasted.

P.S. The Honeydrippers were a band from 1981-1985, formed by Led Zeppelin lead singer, Robert Plant.  It was kind of a part of that resurgence of 50s style music, in the 80s.  Other memebers included Jimmy Paige, Jeff Beck, Paul Shaffer, Brian Setzer, and a bunch of others.  They only recorded one EP.

This post is part of a series.  Here are the previous ones:

Summer of t-shirts #4 / Transgender Trailblazers

Summer of t-shirts #3 / Back to work

Summer of t-shirts #2 / How to fold a shirt

1 month after top surgery / Summer of t-shirts #1


Summer of t-shirts #4 / Transgender Trailblazers

This is a series in which I highlight different shirts I am now able to wear un-self-consciously, because I had top surgery earlier this summer!

This one is a brand new t-shirt – it was designed by Erin Nations, a transgender comic artist living in Portland, OR.  You can get one here:  Transgender Trailblazers Tee.  You might want to act now – they could go fast!  (Looks like he’s already out of size M light-blue shirts, for example).

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From the website:  “50% of each sale will be donated to the TransWomen of Color Collective.  TWOCC is a grass-roots funded global initiative created to offer opportunities for trans people of color, their families and their comrades to engage in healing, foster kinship, and build community. They strive to educate and empower each other through sharing skills, knowledge and resources as they build towards the liberation of all oppressed people.”

Ten trailblazers are illustrated.  “They were/are advocates, activist, pioneers, community leaders, and historical figures in the transgender community. Through their actions and involvement, they paved the way for many trans people, allowing us to live our lives more openly, safely, and authentically.”

Here they are, with a brief description that I cobbled together from various websites:

Sylvia Rivera (top) – She was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activist Alliance.  She attacked the HRC and Empire State Pride Agenda for not being trans-inclusive.  A lasting quote:  “Hell hath no fury like a drag queen scorned.” The Sylvia Rivera Law Project was founded in 2002, in her honor, and aims to ” guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination or violence”.

Miss-Major Griffin-Gracy (2nd from top, L) – She’s the executive director of Trans Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project.  She was a leader in theOne month after top surgery / Summer of t-shirts 31 Stonewall Riots and then imprisoned for 5 years, which led to her also fighting the prison industrial complex.

Leslie Feinberg (2nd from top, R) – A self-identified trans, butch lesbian, communist.  Wrote Stone Butch Blues in 1993.  Also wrote Transgender Warriors and Trans Liberation.  She did not care what pronoun was used in reference to her, as long as it was with respect.

Alexander John Goodrum (2nd from top, center) – An African American Trans, civil rights activist and the founder and director of TGNet Arizona.  He took his own life while in a psychiatric ward in 2002; he was posthumously awarded the Godat Award for his service in the LGBTQ+ community.

Lou Sullivan (3rd from top, L) – He was possibly the first trans-man to openly identify as gay, and he was largely responsible for the understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity being separate facets.  He also founded FTM International.

Kate Bornstein (3rd from top, center) – There’s no way to condense her accomplishments here.  Just look her up!  Read her books!  Also she just posted on her twitter feed, today, about it!  – “Tickled pink to be drawn on one of these T-shirts by Erin Nations.”

Louise Lawrence (3rd from top, R) – She worked with Alfred Kinsey and later, Harry Benjamin, and she counseled other trans-people just by having them drop by.

Marcelle Cook-Daniels (bottom, L) – He worked for the IRS and was working on his masters in computer science.  He was a transmasculine African America activist and leader, presenting at many conferences and contributing to a handful of books.  He took his own life in 2000.

Reed Erickson (bottom, center) – He became very wealthy over time through his professional life – he studied to be an engineer and later successfully ran two large companies and invested in oil-rich real estate.  In 1964, he founded the Erickson Educational Foundation, which “helped to support, both through direct financial contributions and through contributions of human and material resources, almost every aspect of work being done in the 1960s and 1970s in the field of transsexualism in the US and, to a lesser degree, in other countries. The EEF funded many early research efforts, including the creation of the Harry Benjamin Foundation, the early work of the Johns Hopkins Clinic” as well as information, counseling, and a referral network.

Marsha P. Johnson (bottom, R) – A close friend of Sylvia Rivera, she was a leader in the Stonewall Riots and later a co-founder of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries and an organizer with ACT-UP.  She was also a member of Andy Warhol’s drag queen troupe, Hot Peaches.  A lasting quote, whenever she was asked what the “P” stood for:  “Pay it no mind!”

Others in this series include:

One month after top surgery / Summer of t-shirts #1

Summer of t-shirts #2 / How to fold a shirt

Summer of t-shirts #3 / Return to work


Summer of t-shirts #3 / Return to work

Yesterday, I wore a t-shirt to work for the first time!  It was glorious.  I have been back to work for two weeks now, after being out for 9 weeks recovering from top surgery.  It has been going more smoothly than I could have possibly imagined!  Physically, I’m back to 100%, and in terms of work dynamics, I’m right back where I left things, which is better than I could have hoped for.  I pictured I might be the odd person out, after being away so long, but everyone genuinely seems happy to see me.  Our supervisor even got muffins for the day I came back!

So, work uniform:  We have four styles of shirts we can wear – all of them are navy blue with the school district’s seal embroidered in yellow.  The choices are:
long sleeved button-down
short sleeved button-down
t-shirt
polo shirt

Every 2 years, we can order 5 more.  I had been down to only 5 total, though, for years, because I continually ordered more and more size S short sleeved button-downs, and they kept being too big.  I had 5 that my spouse had tailored and hemmed (thank you!!!), and that was it.  I had 2 t-shirts and one polo shirt, which I had ordered at some point, but never wore.  Until yesterday!

Why didn’t I just wear a t-shirt immediately upon returning?  This might be mild paranoia, but I didn’t want to change things up immediately for fear of fanning whatever rumors might be going around about the type of surgery I had.  I only told 2 people at work, and I didn’t really want to talk about it.  The short sleeve button-downs have pockets with buttons that just happen to fall right where my nipples are!  Haha.  So, I looked pretty much the same before and after surgery, in those shirts.  I wanted a little time to pass before I moved on to what I really wanted to do:  Wear a t-shirt!

I gotta say though, t-shirts are not as conducive to this hot weather.  (It is soooooo hot in the school.)  They are 100% cotton, and they get wet with sweat.  The short sleeved button-downs are cotton/poly blend, and they are billowy and wick away moisture.

Once it’s fall, winter, and spring, I am going to be loving it though.  I just need more shirts though!  I think this is one of the years we get more – I’m going to order 5 small t-shirts!

In other work related news, I added a new page to my blog.  It is called, glossary of janitorial words and phrases.  I’m sure I’ll be adding to it as I think of more.  Check it out – it might make you laugh (or possibly gross you out)…


Nike is supporting the trans-community

I’ve never especially liked sports – playing sports or watching them.  I used to play soccer and soft ball as a little kid.  (Ok – maybe I liked sports as a kid).  In middle and high school, I played a few sports for one year each:  softball, volley ball, lacrosse, track.  I did not have much fun.  My constant was cross-country running.  I did that for all 6 years, 7th-12th grade.

I’ve always liked the Olympics though.  I particularly remember the 1994 winter games in Lillehammer, Norway and the 1998 winter games in Nagano, Japan.  They kinda dropped from my radar between then and 2010, when the winter games were in Vancouver, and my spouse and I watched a lot of it.  (It’s always more likely for us to catch the winter games because hibernating lends itself to more TV watching.)

My spouse and I were watching women’s gymnastics last night (the US commentators were really getting to me like never before!!!), when a commercial popped on.  I have not watched any actual TV (the kind that includes commercials) since the night before I got top surgery, and I usually do my best to tune them out because they are so infuriating, but this one was like, BAMMMM!

It features Chris Mosier, who is an American transgender advocate, triathlete, and speaker.  (I had to look him up to see what he’s all about.)  He is the first known out trans-athlete to join a U.S. national team – Team USA sprint men’s team for the 2016 World Championship.  Apparently, trans-athletes who have undergone hormone replacement therapy for one year and pass Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) tests are allowed to compete without restriction.  This has only been in effect since January.  Until then, trans-athletes had been in a sort of limbo.  In many ways they still are.  Although he is not competing in Rio, apparently there are two trans-athletes who are, though their identities are not public.  They remain closeted, for now at least.

According to an article last week in Rolling Stone,

“Mosier expressed that often, worrying about how other athletes, the public and organizations will react is what delays trans gender athletes when making the decision to come out. It’s possible for transgender athletes to compete without making public announcements of transition. Knowing he had the option to privately navigate sports as a man, it took Mosier years to decide to come out publicly as a trans gender athlete. But he did so to set precedence. ‘It’s like running the four-minute mile,’ he explains. ‘First people say it can’t be done. Then someone does it. Then it’s done again and again, faster and faster – just because the impossible was possible.'”

He adds,

“Just because the rules allow it doesn’t mean that everyone is ready to accept it.  Public opinion is the challenging piece.”

Having Nike on board, with this groundbreaking commercial, will certainly help!  Although Nike (like any large corporation), is an evil behemoth, I am so psyched about the fact that they made this commercial.  Good one.


Three years worth of writing

Three years ago today, I made my first post on this blog.  It was this:
low-dose testosterone for the rest of my life.

At that point, I was feeling very unsure of myself.  It was more like, “low-dose testosterone for the rest of my life???”  Being able to do that was of utmost importance; it was something I was strongly identifying with.  But, if too many physical changes were happening and I didn’t like it, I felt like that meant I failed.  I hadn’t heard of anyone else trying to maintain an inbetween-ness through hormones before.  The only resource online I could find at the time was this series, through the Original Plumbing blog:
I Was a Teenage Unicorn

I had also met Micah at the Philly Trans-Health Conference.  His blog was a goldmine of information.

I decided to start my own blog, to add to the conversation.  And I really could not have fathomed how much it would help me connect with others and gain confidence in my choices.  Thanks for connecting with me, everyone!!!  There’s really nothing like it, at least for me, as someone who expresses myself easiest through writing and likes to read what is going on in other people’s heads.

Three years later, I already haven’t been on low-dose testosterone for the rest of my life, but that’s no big deal in the larger picture, I can now see.  I had been off of it for about 6 months.  Actually, as of 5 days ago, I am back on it, on a day-by-day basis, just because I feel like it.

So, to celebrate 3 years, I thought I’d pick out a few posts, and then also talk about some future writing goals.

According to my stats, my top 5 most visited posts are these:
28 risks of chest binding – I wrote this recently.  And then I posted links to it on a couple of facebook groups (first time I’ve really done that), and it kinda took off.  This is probably the closest I’ve gotten to “going viral,”  haha.  It has 3 times as many views as my next popular post, which is:
Can hormones change my sexual orientation? – I wrote this early on, and I’m glad it continues to get a lot of traffic on a steady basis.  A lot of people are curious about if and how hormones could maybe shift sexual orientation.
Bathroom anxieties:  a genderqueer janitor’s perspective – I also wrote this early on, and I think that if I were to write it over again, there would be lots of edits.  But I’m leaving it as is, for now.  It’s a document of a time, I guess.
One year on testosterone without physical changes – This got a lot of traffic because it got a boost from Micah.  I asked him if he’d share it on his social media outlets.  Thanks, Micah!
A story about what it feels like to be bigender – I’m also really glad this gets a lot of traffic because I worked pretty hard on it, and I think it’s really illuminating and informative.  I don’t identify as bigender, but a lot of people are curious about what it means to be bigender.

Two posts that I’m considering deleting, because they pop up in people’s searches too much and are probably off-topic:
Ruling with elf wisdom – People want to know what it means to “rule with elf wisdom,” and this post isn’t going to tell them anything about that.  It’s actually about a name I was considering going by, which means “ruling with elf wisdom.”  But then I nixed that name.  So it’s not even relevant any longer…
Office work and trans-YA fiction – People search for “office work” pretty frequently, but I’m not sure why!  And this is barely about that – it’s about how I volunteered in the office at my local gay alliance for a while, but it’s more about some YA books I was reading while sitting there, bored, in the office.

Other than that, most of my search results have seemed relevant, which is good!  A lot of questions about taking testosterone while on other psychotropic drugs, about being trans and using the bathroom, about different terms under the “genderqueer” umbrella…  It seems that just as many searches are about janitors as they are about being trans.  I guess I feel kind of weird about that because even though being a janitor is a big part of my identity and a  semi-big part of this blog, I don’t feel like I’m representational of janitors in general, for when people are searching for info about janitors…  Oh well.

Here are some of the more bizarre search terms that have led people to my blog:
“commercial work schedule disorder” – I once wrote about shift-work disorder, so that’s probably where they landed.
“literotica drag king” – I like that word!  I’m going to start using it!
“MTF tree house transgender” – Once my spouse and I stayed in a tree house while on vacation.  And I mentioned that.  Haha.
“images of scrap books to be made for bf” –  Not sure.  I’ve never mentioned a scrap book or a boyfriend.
“are janitors off on snow days at school” –  YES THEY ARE!  PAID DAY OFF!
“why would another male janitor pee all over your bathroom” – Damn, I do not know dude.
“queer mullet” – I am queer and I do have a mullet.  More information about this can be found here:  Queer/Trans- visiblity:  (flannel + mullet).

For the future, I would like to continue to take academic papers and studies, and distill them into something that is relate-able.  That’s probably my favorite thing to work on.  If anyone knows of any, let me know!  I’ll continue to document my life too, of course.

Stay tuned…


Happy pride weekend, and The People

Just like in past years, I know I’m behind on the pride-related post, but this really is when our city celebrates pride.  This year’s theme was “Let’s Make Magic.”  My partner and I took that concept and twisted and twirled it to suit us.  She has a wand that a friend made, and she has lots of fun black clothes.  She also has badass sword earrings and newish leg tattoos.  I have this zebra print cowboy hat that I’ve worn a lot for drag performances, and recently it’s acquired a white plastic flower, but I don’t know from when or where.  I also had an idea for a magic trick.  Here’s some pictured from right before we biked to get down to the parade:

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This year, we started out earlier than usual, and went to a friend’s house for a brunch party ahead of time.  Three of them were wearing black matching short-shorts in overall form, with nothing underneath, plus loads of glitter and spray paint and face makeup.  They had made incredible puppet-like creations to carry, and they planned to watch the parade and then jump in at the end.  That sounded fun!  But my spouse and I also wanted to march with her employer (a food co-op), like we had done last year.  So we split our time half and half:  after the party we went to find her group, and we did half of the parade with them.  I handed out 300 coupons for $5 off a $25 dollar purchase.  I love handing things out!

Then about half-way through, we jumped out and walked back to where our rouge group of friends were watching.  Every time a dog walked by, a bunch of them would go pet him/her.  And every time there was a gap in the parade, they’d all walk into the road to fill the space until the next group caught up.  Once the last group passed by, they jumped in and started chanting, “The People, The People…” and urging other spectators to jump in and join.  A lot of people did!  The mass got larger and larger until we reached the end and people started dispersing.  It was a blast!  Usually in the parade, I’m with a small group, and it was really great to just get swept up in this energy.

Afterward, we decided not to go to the festival because of the admission cost and crowds.  We met up with some of my spouses co-workers for pizza and beer.  The following day though, we actually attended the picnic, which I haven’t done since I was a teenager, because we wanted to catch up with some friends.  It was low-key.  We saw some drag performances, which do not quite translate into a mostly sober, middle-of-the-day, middle-of-a-field environment.  Haha.

This may have been the most fun I’ve had during pride in years.  I think because we were with different people, throughout the weekend, and just because I was less stressed and anxious.  With less anxiety, there’s more potential for fun!  I love it!  (Also, we were having a lot of fun with our costumes!!!

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Here are some past posts about Pride:

Happy pride weekend, and BRAWL
Happy pride weekend

 


My insurance unexpectedly sent me partial reimbursement for top-surgery

The title says it all, but here’s the details:  Prior to surgery, I put a lot of effort into trying to figure out what I might be able to get reimbursed for.  I was on the phone with customer service for a long time one day; I scoured my insurance’s webpage; I tried to figure out codes and what they mean; my therapist called multiple times on my behalf.  I oscillated between feeling hopeful I might get partial coverage, and being convinced that there was no chance.

Ultimately it seemed like there was no chance.  I found a promising document at one point called, “Gender Reassignment Surgery Medical Policy,” followed by criteria to prove it is medically necessary.  Then I was told that that applies to some insurance policies with my insurance company, but my particular policy excludes this coverage, and that was the bottom line.

Still, people told me that it’s against the law to deny coverage, on a state by state basis, and my state should cover it.  I paid out of pocket, first for the surgeon’s fees in advance, and then for the surgical center, the day of.  After the fact, I asked my surgeon’s office to send me an itemized bill of what I’d paid for, and I submitted that to my insurance company, without much hope.  I figured it’d get denied, then I’d appeal and take it as far as I could.  Maybe I’d get some advice from my local gay alliance, etc.

About 2 weeks later, I got a piece of mail.  I didn’t open it because I didn’t care to read the bad news.  My spouse and I were leaving for vacation last Wednesday, and I figured I’d better open it before we left.  In case there was some deadline for appealing it.  I opened it up, and it was a check for $2,800.09!!!!  I yelled at my partner about it, the excitement of it, which must have been jarring because I almost never yell.  What an amazing way to start our trip!

That’s 47% of the surgeon’s fees (including 100% of the accommodations – staying at the surgeon’s guest room!)  I really could not believe it – either the person on the receiving end wasn’t paying attention at all, or they knew exactly what it was and had some strong personal beliefs of what should get to be covered!!

Now I’m just deciding if I should also get an itemized bill from the surgical center and try to get more money back…  Maybe I don’t want to push my luck…

It really paid off to just try, even though I didn’t believe anything would come of it!

Here’s a post I wrote earlier on this topic:
In February, I wrote GID: exclusion for top surgery coverage


Summer of t-shirts #2 / How to fold a shirt

a photo of a "Kodak Batteries" t-shirt

I got this gem at a thrift store in 2000 or 2001.  Back when you could still get old t-shirts for $2.  I remember especially liking it because I never really thought that Kodak was known for their batteries.  As if this t-shirt was an announcement to remind people that they should buy the batteries too, while they’re at it.  I haven’t worn this in years, but I wore it all the time in college.  I actually had it in a box of shirts I wanted to keep but were no longer in rotation.  It’s coming back into rotation now, full force!  Although, there is a hole in it, and it is one of the delicate ones that are getting pretty threadbare.  So, we’ll see.

 

 

Oh, I also wore it in the pride parade in 2006, because I was going for every rainbow color in my outfit, and this fit the bill.  Now I’m noticing some colors are more prominent than others:  I could have been marching for McDonalds!  (And Kodak, of course.  …In 2006, the company was giving it’s best shot in the production of digital cameras, but by 2012 it filed for bankruptcy and phased out of that market.  It’s still hanging in there in the printing and imaging fields, and it does still produce certain types of specialty film.  I couldn’t find anything on the Kodak wikipedia page about batteries though!)

a photo before the pride parade in 2006

drag buddy and me

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please note mismatched Converse – one green, one purple

I’m realizing that I need to change the way I fold my shirts.  They all have a crease down the middle (see top photo) that I need to get rid of, by learning how to do it like a pro.  There are a bunch of videos on how to accomplish this in 2 seconds, like this:

I tried it a few years ago, but never got the hang of it.  I feel a lot more motivated now though.  It’s going to be fun to learn.

(One note about the upcoming week starting tomorrow – my spouse and I will be on vacation in MA and NH – I’ll be away from the internet.  I love not going on the internet for long spans of time, but I will miss staying up-to-date with blogs!)

This post is part of a series about my t-shirt collection – now that I’ve had top surgery, I can wear them all again, all the time!

For more posts in this series (so far), see:

1 month after top surgery / Summer of t-shirts #1


1 month after top surgery / Summer of t-shirts #1

Yesterday, I went out in a t-shirt, without the ace wrap I’ve been wearing for 3 weeks, for the first time!  It felt seriously amazing.  (I still have sterile pads over my nipples because they are still sloughing off gross stuff, so it’s going to get even better, once that’s over!)  I don’t know when I last wore just a t-shirt, out – 10 years ago?  12 years ago?  Sometime in there, before I started feeling overly-self-conscious about my chest.

I had my 1 month appointment via Skype, with the physician’s assistant, and it went pretty much how I imagined it would.  I focused mostly on what to do to continue healing, which is going slowly, and also to change my return-to-work date.  Whenever I brought up a concern about an aspect of the appearance, I was told, “Right now it is ______; in _____ amount of months, it will be healed nicely.  Your final results won’t be visible until a year from surgery.”  It felt like I was being fed stock answers.  I can live with that for now, but I doubt things are going to change enough for it to actually look good.  I’m not happy with the results.  Some of it seems like no big deal – it can be fixed.  One thing though does have me worried: it seems to me that some muscle may actually have been taken out, along an axis crossing through the nipple, on the right side.

I’ll just continue to document the changes or lack thereof.  Such as:  neither areola is actually a circle.  I’m being told that they will change into circles.  I highly doubt that.  I’m concerned that down the road, it’s going to be a struggle to get anyone connected to this surgeon to acknowledge that I might need revisions.  If that’s the case, I envision myself getting opinions from other surgeons, and going from there…

All this is far away though.  Right now, I’m enjoying focusing what I am happy about:  wearing t-shirts!!!  This was the number one thing I was looking forward to.  I’m thinking I’ll start a short series where I write about some of my favorite t-shirts.  Here’s one (this is the one I wore out, yesterday):

a vintage t-shirt that says, "music lives on TDK"It says, “MUSIC LIVES ON TDK.”

I have found that to be true – most of the blank tapes I’ve gotten to make mix tapes have happened to be TDK!  I found this at a thrift store about 12 years ago.  I used to wear it a lot, under flannels and hoodies.  Nowadays I rarely wear it, not because I stopped liking it, but because it started to get pretty threadbare, and I don’t want to wear it out.  I have a couple of t-shirts like that – I love them and have worn them too much and now I don’t really get to wear them.  (Largely because they were worn so much before I got them, too.  I’d guess this shirt is at least 30 years old.)  It is 50/50 (so soft!), which is way better than 100% cotton, in my opinion, but I wonder if that contributes to it not holding up so well.  Also, it is a size large, which always gets to me with vintage clothing, because people used to be so much smaller back then?!?  I am a present-day small.

I just did a google search for this t-shirt, and found one on etsy selling for $146.06 Canadian dollars, which is currently $113.34 US dollars.  Dang!  That’s a keeper.

 


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