I’ve been wanting to write something on this blog in the last couple of days, but haven’t yet figured out what to say or how to begin. It’s been a crazy week. My personal life has become very public, and while I really don’t mind that, it’s been pretty intense.
First of all, Michael is no longer Michael. She is in the process of changing her name to Hannnah. Her pronouns have changed. I’ll be honest, like a lot of people, I’ll probably slip up at times and accidentally screw those pronouns up, at least for a little while. It has nothing to do with any disrespect. It really doesn’t. It’s only a matter of getting used to the change.
It might be the same for me. For now, I can go by anything. You can call me, “she,” “they,” even “he.” Any of these are fine with me. None would bother me or offend me in any way. I like them all. I suppose I’m more gender-expansive than non-binary.
However, the one that probably fits me best is “they.” I just don’t know if I could get used to it myself. If I can’t get used to it, who am I to make others call me “they/them?” It’s confusing. I’m just being honest.
I have no issue calling someone else “they/them” if that’s how they’d like to be addressed. It’s slightly tricky still, but I can do it. So, what’s my issue in asking for the same? I couldn’t tell you exactly. It probably has something to do with self-worth, self-respect, and self-confidence. I lack all three and then some.
Which brings me to this next subject that maybe I haven’t really shed much light on. It’s super personal, but maybe it needs to be talked about. It is the basis of my new book after all.
Here it is…
I’m finally searching out a surgeon to get what is called top surgery. In essence, it is a double incision mastectomy. Why? I have wanted one most of my life. I have wanted one seriously since around the time I turned thirty.
Before I was thirty, I always weighed about 100 pounds. I essentially had no breasts to speak of. Everyone knew this, and I often got comments about it. I have received comments about my breasts my entire life, that is, until I got fat and all but stopped leaving my house because I’ve been so self-conscious about all of it.
Even when I started to develop little bumps at twelve years old, I heard things like, “Oh look! You have tits now. You can no longer be a tomboy.” That’s when I started to wear Ace bandages around my torso.
Age thirty must have been my baby-making age because my breasts began growing and growing as big as my mothers’, who was always very big-chested. I heard the comments then too. “Are you pregnant or something? Your boobs are getting so big!” The last thing in the world I wanted was to have one ounce of attention on my boobs because I never wanted them! I didn’t want to be a girl, and I especially didn’t want to be a woman.
That didn’t mean I wanted to be a man either. I just wanted to be a person!
When I was fifteen, I came out as gay. I figured I must be gay. It only made sense. I dated girls for a while. I love women. But I loved men too. Then I realized I didn’t care who or what. It didn’t matter to me. I met a trans man around the same time, my girlfriend (at the time) had a cousin who was a trans man. This was back in the 80s. I was fascinated and thought, cool! I don’t care what’s between someone’s legs or on their chest. I love people for who they are. but this was when I started thinking about the possibilities.
But then I got deeper into Scientology, and L. Ron Hubbard thinks all that stuff is entirely perverted. I had to hide everything. I didn’t want anyone to know, so they didn’t. Not the whole story anyway. Some of my friends only knew I had a “gay” past, but no one knew the extent of it.
Decades later, I realized I was in a cult. Then it took a long time to heal. And during that time, my chest only became a bigger and bigger problem (literally) as I gained more weight. I just kept using binders, but my chest is so big, it’s almost impossible to hide this whole situation. It’s horrible and depressing.
In the last week, Hannah and I have been growing exponentially. She understands me. I understand her, even more than when we first talked about these issues over a decade ago. So now is the time. Now it’s time for the self-loathing to end! I’m so tired of this.
Once I get my BMI (body mass index) down to 30, I can get this operation, and that is that. I have lost twenty pounds since March. I have another thirty to go, and I’d like to get it off by the end of this year. Then, I want this surgery so badly, you don’t even know. I don’t even care if I’m still a bit overweight at that time, as long as it’s safe to do the surgery, and these giant things are gone from my life forever.
So when I say I identify as non-binary/gender-expansive, this is my story. This is the dysphoria and depression I’ve been dealing with–for so many years. Like Hannah, it feels like so many lost years too, but at least there is hope now. At least there’s a path and a way out of this.
Now the question is, do I stay “Carol?” I can’t imagine changing the artist career path of “Carol Es.” Can you? It’s been such an “identity,” despite the fact that I’ve always hated Carol as a name. It’s such a girl’s name. But I hated my original last name too and changed it when I was fifteen. If I’m going to change my gender on my drivers’ license anyway, now would be the time to make such a decision. Carroll? I don’t know. I guess my name is up in the air for now.