The two feelings are completely distinct.
The first, the need to get rid of my breasts, I was prepared for. Since the moment in my childhood where I learned what being a girl meant for the future of my body, I dreaded the day puberty set in. This was followed by years of sports bras turned chest binders, layers of shirts and hunched shoulders. July 31st, the day of my surgery, I was finally able to experience the fulfillment of this need. Even under the layers of bandages and through the haze of the pain killers, when I came to after the procedure I felt the lightness. A huge weight had been lifted, quite literally. It was exhausting. It’s like I’d been holding my breath since I was fourteen years old. On July 31st, I exhaled.
The possibility of having a male contoured chest is the second one. Throughout the years of growing disconnect I had with my chest my focus was on wanting them gone; I hadn’t been able to imagine what would be in their place. I’ve imagined an empty void. I couldn’t picture what it would actually look like for me to have a masculine chest. And I didn’t care. Anything was better than what I had. On August 6th, I had the bandages removed and was able to see my chest for the first time. It was the opposite of drowning. It was taking the training wheels off the bike. It was the second after the roller coaster starts its decent, past the building anticipation and into the moment where you throw your arms up and scream. It was seesaws and slides, it was my first home run, it was red popsicles and roller-skates. It was my first kiss, it was tree houses and love letters, it was falling in love. It was a feeling of knowing that things were going to be better than just ok. It was gold.