The roller coaster ride that has been my breast augmentation surgery experience has all but thrown me off the deep end. I have been eager, then scared. Then disillusioned, yet hopeful. I have scoured YouTube, watching marathons of boob job related content, in an effort to ease my mind. I have filled my Fashion Nova and Dolls Kill carts to the brim with cute bras and other adornments to compliment my new boobies, then deleted them all the next day out of fear of being overexcited.
I have dreamt of my new body. I could just see my new boobs. From the way they would fall on my chest and compliment my figure, to how they would look, feel, and smell more me. I was nervous to experience the intense pain and hurting I would have to go through to achieve my goal. I was even more ready to bask in the newfound confidence they would bring. I allowed my enthusiasm to become muddled with lingering fears of medical malpractice, breast implant illness, and any other trepidation my anxiety would mix into a stress cocktail. However, when it came down to the final minutes before my anesthesiologist put me under, and I was sandwiched between the weight of my past and the excitement of what the future would bring, I was elated. I was ready to take on whatever physical pain would be waiting for me on the other side of that ten-minute nap.
I have spent the past three years learning my body and its limits. Passing an estrogen-filled needle through my skin every week, and nursing the growing pains of my second puberty back to health, seemed to prepare me for my life post-gender affirming surgery. I was sure of myself before going under the knife, but knew what I needed to do to unify my self-image and personality with my appearance. Breast augmentation was the only option for me. I could not imagine my future without reaching this milestone in my transition. However, the love for myself that I have developed over the years has dwindled in the past week. I can only describe this experience as the longest seven days of my life.
My post-surgical body has betrayed me in ways that I have not experienced since early middle school, when the other girls in my class were changing in ways completely different than me. I was taller, broader, more muscular. Less happy. More masculinized.
Now, as my chest muscles swell, and jolt, and try to work through the trauma of getting cut into, I am working through similar insecurities. I yelped in the initial shock of removing my surgical bandages and seeing what looked like football pads coming out of my chest. My boobs were aliens invading my body. I was ready to submit my tape to Botched. This shift in my self-image incited a stint of depression and dysphoria. My boobs were supposed to bring me more confidence and reassurance, but they were doing the opposite.
Knowing what I know now, it has been rewarding to see the progress I have made. I am getting used to them more and more everyday. Those post-surgical blues are slowly, but surely, subsiding. As my anatomy continues to welcome its new neighbors, and soften around the silicone, I am falling back in love with my body. I smile brighter. I fit into my clothes more comfortably. In the words of our Lord and Savior Beyoncé, “I’m feeling myself.” I am beautiful, confident, and happy. I am getting back to who I was before surgery, with a better outlook on life and an enthusiasm for what else is to come in the future.
In the hundreds of post op YouTube videos I watched, none of them warned of the emotional turmoil. None of them talked about the short period of unhappiness that was to follow. I expected to be in pain, but not “oh my god what have I done to myself” pain! So, in case you don’t hear it from anyone else: be sure to prep yourself in all aspects. Gender-affirming surgeries come with the best and worst feelings about your body, which can mess with your mental health. Along with the ice packs and body pillows, have a supportive group of people around you to help get through the tough times. And don’t worry if things still look crazy days or weeks after surgery. Follow the doctor’s orders. Focus on healing. Lean in to the emotions. Welcome the eagerness, along with the frustration. Things get better in time, and that’s what a transition is all about.
Ivana Fischer is the Culture Editor of WUSSY and a film and media enthusiast who specializes in cultural studies. You can find her across all socials @iv.fischer