I’m getting nervous about breast reduction surgery. It’s coming up soon. This feels major – a decision bigger than getting married but less momentous than having a child. I had my tonsils removed when I was a kid, but this is my breasts. I am excited and a bit uncertain.
I’ve wanted breast reduction since I was 16. For years I’ve struggled with back and shoulder pain, seeking out a wide variety of healing modalities. I can’t sleep on my stomach or stretch fully without putting my back out. It hurts to run, even with great support. The worst thing is that I just keep getting bigger, even without gaining weight.
Breasts are awesome – all kinds of breasts. I think my breasts are beautiful, and yet when I imagine them smaller I feel incredibly happy. I could go braless. The permanent divots on my shoulders could smooth out. No more rashes under my boobs every summer, no getting stabbed in the armpit by out of control underwires. I could buy sexy little lace bras at Victoria Secret instead of them looking me up and down and sniffing, “We don’t carry anything your size.” (Which is currently 34I, in case you were wondering.)
My reasons for surgery are emotional as well. There is something about being fuller figured that makes some men feel like they can treat you like an object. I would like to choose the times that I present as sexy rather than being objectified over anatomy I can’t control. Imagine if penises were hard and protruding all the time and people you didn’t like saw that as in invitation.
I haven’t been feeling comfortable in my body for a long time. My clothes don’t fit right. As a genderqueer individual I don’t feel a strong pull toward either gender pole, except for the times when I want to play around with stereotypes. I often feel incredibly dysphoric over my breasts. Even when I bind myself severely, they show. I long to feel more neutral in my body.
This is a step in my transition to being more fully myself. Everyone has the right to have their appearance reflect how they see themselves, but the road can be rough. Although my process is not as dramatic as full gender transitioning, I am still discovering that the emotional journey of reshaping my body and identity is just as intense. Who will I be after this? How will I be perceived?
I have no idea what size I will end up after surgery. I’ll be happy with anything smaller. I hope a B or C-cup. I’ve been fantasizing about my new shape, breasts that will disappear under a button-down shirt or look great in a push-up bra.
I will have scars. That part bothers me. I like scars on other people because they tell a story of where they have been. I like my stretch marks for the same reason, but I am scared of what these scars will look like on me. Will I look in the mirror and feel mutilated? Will I still be comfortable being naked? I am losing part of my body. That feels strange. The idea of a doctor under my skin feels strange, but I will do it anyway.
I’m a bit sad to say goodbye to who I am right now. I took out my nipple piercings. I gave away all of my bras except the one I’m wearing right now. It gave me pause and I shed a couple of tears, but I am embracing this change. It made me think of a line from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which we just saw in New York, “…to be free, one must give up a little part of oneself.”