Mirror, mirror on the Wall

It’s scary sometimes to see reflections of a self we do not recognize. Whether it is an emotional reaction such as a parent screaming at the child they adore, a behavior like an addict when using, or my physical body pre-transition. When you stare into that glass intently –you may be very surprised at the image you see staring back at you.

17 months ago I started medical transition to male. It was the most exciting and joyous time of my life. Everyday I would wake up and meticulously inspect my body in the mirror – a mirror that like all windows, cameras and reflective surfaces, I avoided for my entire life, to that point.

Prior to my physical transition, reflections of my image caused me shame, disgust and shock. On rare occasions, I accidentally caught glimpses of my physical body and I would be surprised by the unfamiliar image staring back at me. Wide child bearing hips, the chest of those assigned female (and some assigned intersex) at birth, general proportions reflective of a body and sex I did not recognize, could not recognize. It lacked any resemblance to the image of my physical self that was imprinted on my brain.

I remember standing before the mirror. Naked. Staring intently. I had injected my first shot of testosterone and with that, the reflection staring back at me would be my baseline. My starting point. My ground zero. A war wagging biological sex against science and technology.  Fighting for authenticity, happiness and the liberation of my soul.

Thankfully science and technology was allied with medical professionals and slowly but surely it began to encroach on biological territory. Erecting hairs on my legs, face, belly and back, flagpoles of the territory it claimed.

Slowly, I would notice subtle changes. Hear laughter I did not recognize as my own leave my mouth. My witty responses suddenly lacked the inflection at the end that communicated sarcasm and humour (this one resulted in several insistent and panicked apologizes at my voices failure to accurately convey the meaning). My shoulders broadened.  Somedays I would wake up and know that something on my face was different, and not be able to identify why.

No longer painful reflections of physical body I did not recognize – the mirror became my best friend. The lens through which I could witness myself transform and become.

After 17 months of waiting, I had my top surgery consult today in Victoria, British Columbia. As the surgeon inspected my bare chest, I noticed the conflicting story my body told. My female chest deflated from the year and half of testosterone injections and chest binding. Sagging and with obvious loose skin, covered in the chest hair of a testosterone-based organism.

I miss the soft touch of my partner on my back. The gentle kiss of the wind on my skin. Rays of sun on my skin welcoming a summer return. I miss swimming. I miss the feelings of my lungs and rib cage in full expansion.

In three months, I will no longer have to miss those things. In three months, I will wake up from a surgery and see a reflection of my soul. The man I am. In three months, I will look into the mirror of eternity and it will be magnificent.