I recently had reason to revisit my post from a year ago, Why I Am Having Bottom Surgery, and found that I have more to say about it, now that I have a different perspective on it. As before, I’m using this post to organize my thoughts, so please excuse any rambling.
Did I need to have this surgery?
Wow, that’s complicated.
The short answer: Yes, I did.
The long answer: Before I decided that I needed to get bottom surgery, I did what I typically do – I researched it. I sought out stories and experiences from others who’d had the surgery.
I recall one time that I listened to a trans woman tell her story in front of a group and then accept questions from the group. She said something which I’d heard from other people, and each time, I found what she said to be frustrating: “Now that I have it, I doesn’t feel so important.” Ugh! I was frustrated because they had something I might want, and I felt like they were effectively saying “maybe I didn’t need it after all!” But now, I get it. I understand where she and the others were coming from.
For me, the way I would explain what she was saying is “now that I have had the surgery, life has become more ‘normal’. Before the surgery, needing to have the surgery done felt so important because life felt like things were on-hold (at best) or wrong (at worst). Now that the surgery is done, life isn’t on-hold, and my body is less wrong. So when before I was so focused on what was making me feel so uncomfortable inside of my own body, I’m now more comfortable, and don’t need to pay attention to that like I used to.”
Relating this back to the metaphor I used of falling off a roof – I got my broken leg set and it’s healed, so I don’t have to pay attention to the pain it used to cause me. Was it necessary to set that bone? Of course! But now that it’s healed, I don’t think about what that felt like, so it doesn’t feel as important.
And that metaphor holds true in an unexpected way: I lived for 40+ years with a penis, yet within a few months of having surgery, I had a difficult time recalling what it felt like to have a penis. The corporeal sensations of a vulva and vagina feel so natural and correct to me, the pain of not having them has faded. I think this is a common experience; try to recall the physical sensations of the most extensive pain/injury you’ve ever had, and I’m guessing you can’t really do it. I’m sure you remember that it hurt, but can you remember the actual pain?
Could I have been ok without the surgery?
The answer to this feels almost like a paradox. Knowing what I know now, I feel like I could have been ok, but without that knowledge, I don’t think I could have been. Yet the only way I know what I know now is through having had the surgery myself. I tried and couldn’t use what others had said to satisfy what I needed; I needed to experience it myself.
Basically, I needed the experience of having a vulva and vagina to be able to be ok with having a penis. Without having the experience of female genitals, I couldn’t be ok with having a penis. So the only way for me to be at peace was to have the experience of having a vulva and vagina. Make sense? And since these kinds of surgeries are basically irreversible, there wasn’t a way for me to experience it temporarily.
There was no other way for me to find peace with my own body.
Do I feel any regret for having the surgery?
No. Not in the slightest.
While I might have been able to be ok without the surgery, I am much better off having had it. My body feels more comfortable in a way that was (and still would be) impossible with a penis. While I might have been able to be OK without the surgery, I would never have truly been comfortable inside my own body.
Returning to the roof metaphor – even without medical intervention, a broken leg would have healed, but likely would have healed improperly. I’d be left with a permanent limp – I’d never be whole. Having bottom surgery was part of making my body whole.
If I’d known then what I know now, would I still have gotten bottom surgery?
Yes, I would. Without hesitation.
I needed this surgery to find peace within my own body. I would never have found it if I hadn’t had the surgery. And that would have eaten at me for the rest of my life.
Bottom surgery did exactly what it was intended to do: it repurposed parts which didn’t belong to gave me parts which do. But it did even more than that – it enabled me to love my body in a way which had previously been impossible. While the physical benefits of the surgery are amazing, I think that the true miracle of the surgery is how it has enabled me to finally love the body I have.
So did I need to have this surgery?
Yes, I did.
When most MTF”s want the surgery, it is very important to all of us, but once we have had the surgery, it becomes very unimportant in our daily life’s. Once we have a vagina, it becomes part of our daily life and we don’t feel it’s that important anymore because it is not an issue anymore.
Question, Why did you feel it was important to you to experience having a vulva and vagina to be ok with having a penis once. I never experienced that feeling as most post-op MTF’s hated their penis to begin with.
I guess I was different. I never *hated* my penis; it just wasn’t the right body part. It still had some nice feelings and neat abilities (peeing while standing up), and was really simple to maintain (in comparison to a vagina). But it wasn’t what was supposed to be there.
I think I needed the experience of having a vulva and vagina because I would otherwise always wonder what it was like and have a gnawing sense that it was what I was supposed to have. Having a penis stole mental energy from me that I wasn’t even aware was being stolen until I no longer had the part.
If faced with the same choice (whether to have bottom surgery) now, even with my experience of having a vulva and vagina, I would pursue bottom surgery again without hesitation. Those are the parts I’m meant to have, and the mental cost of having a penis is one I wouldn’t want to carry. What I meant by being ok with having a penis after having the surgery is that the question of what it’s like to have a vulva and vagina would be answered, so I’d have the knowledge of what was really the right parts for me, instead of the questions I’d had before.
It’s a really difficult thing to explain, and I feel like I’m not doing the best job of explaining it. I’m certainly not saying that I didn’t need bottom surgery — I most definitely did! I’m not saying that any trans women should be ok with having a penis if they really want/need a vulva and vagina — getting the right genitals is life-changing and I’d never deny anyone that right.
I’m just trying to say that by having bottom surgery, I have a new perspective which makes having had a penis in the past feel a little more ok and less troubling. And I feel like I’m saying it really clumsily!
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Thank you for answering my question, it is very tough question to answer but you did a good job. As a former penis owner also, i can understand your feelings better now.
Having a penis does steal a lot of mental energy from us because we know it’s not right. Once it is replaced by a vulva and vagina our brains get energized.
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