Many of you know about my impending surgery already, if you read this blog, but I’m also using this post as a HEADS UP for the general populace. To make it official: as of 6AM CST tomorrow, Wednesday July 23, I will be offline indefinitely. Decidedly I won’t be doing anything of any import until early next week, but I’m reserving the right to react badly to anesthesia or be very sore or high or whatever this adventure leads me to, and so for all practical purposes, I’m not really working until about August 10, and it’ll be August 15 before I get truly back up to speed in even a small fashion. This will, as it happens, be when Hero re-releases, but I think I have that all set up and ready to go. I also have helpers (thank you Jess and Dan) who are monitoring email and doing behind-the-scenes tasks. On August 5 a post will go up here, but it’s automated and will undoubtedly be much chirpier and with it than I will be in real time on that date.
I fully anticipate my email to be an unholy mess. Dan will be scanning through, and so will I, but it’s going to be serious triage for some time, so I apologize in advance if anyone feels ignored or unheard. If you need something regarding the blog tour, you want to email the “assist” email which has given or will shortly give you an updating email tonight. Dan or Jess (they’re both on that account) will funnel your query to me, or figure it out if I’m staring at the pretty ceiling patterns at that particular second.
So that’s the procedural stuff. Now for the metaphysical.
People have been asking me for weeks if I’m nervous or excited–honestly, I’ve been so swamped with work I didn’t have a spare second to be nervous or eager. I would say, now that I’m properly reflecting, I’m a bit of both. Largely I’m annoyed at the inconvenience, the anticipated helplessness and pain. Pain isn’t such a big deal–very accustomed to that. Oddly enough, the potential for hope sometimes catches me up the most. Oh yes, I want this to fix many things! But to allow myself to wish for that feels like it opens the possibility that I will be disappointed. So I am cautiously optimistic, looking forward to a second adolescence while also readying for a return or worsening of everything which has become part of my daily life.
I’ve thought, a great deal, about femininity, and womanhood, and what “uterus” and “ovary” mean. I’m grateful they gave me my daughter, but beyond that, I can’t say I much care. My vagina, yes, I’m terribly fond of. This I get to keep, so that works out. But the rest? Honestly, fuck it. Chuck it, burn it, make it go. It has made me sick, made me tired, made me lose so very, very much of my life. Begone. I’m gonna put a house on you.
Not for one moment, though, have I felt like the removal of my female sexual organs will make me less of a woman. I am a woman. I feel like a woman. I look like a woman. Yes, I can pull off male drag, but I’m still a woman beneath. Being female isn’t something that comes from a uterus, or even, frankly, a vagina. A great deal of my sense of femininity comes from cultural programming, yes–but honestly, I’ve spent most of my life feeling pushed out of that programming. The number of times I was told I was too tall for a girl, too big, too loud, too everything–well, I guess thank god for the boobs, or somebody might have decided I wasn’t a girl at all. But I always wanted to be pretty. Not because I thought I’d get something extra, but because the lacy, delicate things appealed. The long hair. Everything that the world defined as girl, it worked out that was what I wanted. Of course, how much of that was true girl? Can someone be a girl without the lace? Of course.
Can someone be a girl without a uterus? Well, yes! Breasts? How dare we think otherwise.
Without a vagina? Well–why the fuck not?
I was never particularly married to gender binary before, but I must say, at this second, when getting rid of my most girlish parts is probably going to be the best thing I’ve ever done for myself–it’s looking pretty fucking stupid to say being male or female comes from any checklist. If you have to pick one thing, it’s that double X chromosome. But that’s simply chemistry. That’s not hair or makeup or lace or not. That’s computer code. That means from a biological standpoint, I came equipped to bear a kid. But those same parts that made me girl are what are killing me now.
As I jettison my girly bits, I must say I’m also chucking out the very last dregs of philosophical quandary over what makes a woman, and by extension, what makes a man. I have the answer: what makes me a woman is my belief that I am one. Simple as that. And frankly, that goes for any human. It’s not an argument, a debate, or a crisis. It’s simply the way things are, and everyone who doesn’t see it that way needs to get their head out of their ass and catch the fuck up.
And on that note, I bid you adieu. If you itch to know how my surgery went, my husband will update my twitter feed to let people know how I’m doing throughout the day and until I’m able to get on there myself. That will be the first place I go. But I”m going to tell him not to let me wander on social media until I’m not stupidly high. However entertaining that might be for you.
Heidi Cullinan, over and out.