Approximately a month ago, I announced to the world (ak.a., the 230 people I’ve permitted into my world on Facebook) that I would be initiating a new workout plan. (The exact christening of the day was ‘The Day Augusta/s Cordelia Leigh Stops Being a Shrimp of a Husk of Human Being and Gets Ripped as Hell’.) This is definitely not the first attempt I’ve made at working out, but this is the first time that I’ve dedicated myself to the cause to the degree of publicly announcing it. Now I’ve no choice but to hold myself accountable by either 1. sticking to the plan
and wowing my adoring public with my new hot bod, or 2. failing to keep up, thereby admitting my pratfall to all invested parties (i.e., anyone who “liked” my nominal life event).
Already, multiple obstacles have arisen, as well as multiple opportunities to drop the ball (figuratively, of course, as my workout plan does not utilize an exercise ball). I’ve caught multiple seasonal bugs. I’ve relapsed into depressive episodes. I’ve found myself bed bound until way-late into the early evening. Normally, this would be enough to pack it in and ‘prioritize’ other aspects of my life into generating my wellness.
But not this time.
This time around, my wellness is dependent on the necessity of my fitness routine. Because this time around, I have a vision, which I’ve informally announced to the universe (accounting for the slightly broader audience capacity I have for my twitter feed):
For the uninitiated into Trans*gender affairs:
“Top surgery” is the catch-all term for any gender alignment/conforming surgical procedure that alters the contours of the chest to create a “passing” silhouette/physical appearance. Though the term can be (and is) used for breast augmentation procedures, “top surgery” typically is the colloquial swap-out for a double incision/bilateral mastectomy or a keyhole/peri-areolar incision reduction procedure to create a more masculine chest.
My case beckons for the latter.
My ultimate goal is not necessarily to become uniquely masculine–as I do not identify as a trans*man, but rather, as a non-binary pangender-presenting person. However, I do intend to reconstruct my body into an idealized androgyne: fit in form and stature. The FTM Top Surgery Network recommends that before top surgery, one should:
Eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly. Increasing the muscle on your chest will provide more contour for the surgeon to work with, improving aesthetic results
Because this surgery is so life-altering and so expensive (most insurance companies do not cover the procedure, labeling it ‘cosmetic’), I want to have the finest possible results.
I took weight training/cardio as an elective in high school for a Phys Ed credit, but now my personal wellness is truly married to my academics. My gender and my career track are equally weighted in My Life.
It is so particularly important to me that I graduate into my Final Form at the same time as I graduate from my Masters and ascend into my PhD track. This gives me a timeline of approximately 2-3 years to get into shape and save up. As an androgyne, I don’t intend to undergo hormone replacement. However, I do intend to change my gender to the neutral option when such documentation hits the American shores as it has in other nations. While, due to costs, I have not yet legally changed my name, I have already professionally begun to introduce myself as and have registered for MLA 2014 as ‘Mx. Augusta Leigh’–sometimes ‘Augustas’–in preparation for the commencement ceremony where I’m formally announced and hooded as Augusta Cordelia Leigh, scholar.
So, I’ve been pushing myself: past the sickness! past the crippling depression! past the sticky bedridden stays! Because this time, the way I present myself to others is everything. I have to maintain. I just have to.