Looking back at the last 2 years I cannot believe how much my life has changed. I mean I love change because let's face it if I didn't I'd be on the wrong life journey!
Saturday 16th April 2016 I woke up knowing I was about to have the surgery I'd been waiting my whole life for.
I've learned a lot about myself and I want to share some of what I've learned to help inspire you to keep going on your journey, whatever that may be.
The night before my surgery laying there on my bed, I remember feeling slightly nervous but more than anything I was elated. I knew that the last 4 years of rejection and pain, of having to pushing myself to go out into a world where I was mocked just for being me, of having to build a life from scratch - all of that seemed to be part of the process and here I was at the culmination of all of these efforts.
The morning of my surgery after the pre-operatiive assessments and preparation (I won't go into all of that) I was told I was going to be second on the list that morning and so to try and get some rest. I hadn't slept much the night before (too excited) and so I closed my eyes at about 6:30am and the next thing I knew it it was almost 9:40 am and my turn to walk down to theatre.
Walking down there I was like a Cheshire Cat. The nurse even said she'd never seen anyone seem so happy prior to going into theatre (most people as it turned out are really nervous), if anything I felt a sense of calm. I was just elated to finally be here.
I remember joking with the surgical team prior to going in and as I lay there looking at the clock as they administered the anaesthetic (I tried to beat their countdown and got to 8) I had no fear at all.
I woke up at 1:20 pm with an oxygen mask on my face and remember feeling as though I was a puppet (you can guess why) and the anaesthesia made me feel rather sick. Still though I had nothing more than a sense of pride and accomplishment. I'd done it!
The journey was completed! Or so I thought.
The following 5 days after surgery whilst filled with pain and being stuck in hospital, I was also lucky enough to have awesome friends who came to see me, people sent me beautiful flowers, and I also received an amazing amount of goodwill messages through social media. All of which really helped me get through the pain.
I was lying there one night (I think about 3 days after surgery) and I suddenly had an epiphany. I knew why I was assigned male at birth and also why I had to share my transition and my journey. It was to inspire others to follow their truth. To make others understand that no matter where you come from, what counts is where you're going and the belief in yourself that you can get there.
Going home in the car with my ex's dad was a journey and a half as well. 3 hours sitting on an inflatable swimming ring (obvious reasons) was fun and we did have a laugh about it (you can't take yourself too seriously in life). However once I was finally home, that's when the true recovery started.
The first few weeks were the worst.
The chronic pain and reconnecting of nerves meant that at times I just cried. I've had life saving surgery 2 times previously but this was off the scale in terms of pain. I had a great support and because of this it was much easier than it could of been - if you're going through difficult times, you need to seek support.
I also had to learn how my body worked all over again, both from an everyday living point of view and from a sexual point of view.
I couldn't face the thought of sex for months but once things had settled and I was able to have sex again, it was as if I'd reached the summit of my journey.
My body was finally working the way I had only ever been able to dream that it could and I was finally free from my past.
Any journey or goal you have that involves pain is going to be difficult, there are going to be times when you wonder why the hell you started it; you're going to consider giving up and stopping and going back to your old life because it's easier. At times once you've completed the journey you're also going to wonder if it was really worth all that you've had to give up and sacrifice along the way.
Only you can answer that for yourself.
If you ask me if it was worth everything I've lost?
My answer would be I've gained far much more from being who I truly am, than pretending to be someone I'm not. They say the truth sets you free - mine certainly has.