Hours earlier, I'd spent a few minutes having some marks made, and then a needle driven, through my ear. Once, then again. He advised me to take deep breaths as he penetrated it. I deadpanned, "I'm wearing a corset. There is no such thing as a deep breath," which caused him to pause and chuckle. As he slid the tiny bars through the newly-formed holes, I acknowledged what I knew: "This body is finally mine to inhabit."
The corset arrived in Pittsburgh while I was away. I'd worn it nearly daily since that time -- even to bicycle -- thus pinching my waist to an even fiercer hourglass than the one exercise and hormones had graced me with. Seeing the person in the mirror slowly take a form I could acknowledge as myself was uplifting, even in the moments where life was otherwise crushing. I pushed hard, doing all I could to make the vessel ensconcing my consciousness into a home. I needed a place to be mine, and the only space totally within my control was the one ending at the exposed surface of my flesh.
The course I was plotting for myself, combined with my marginally-improved fortunes, gave me a little leeway. There would still be much to accomplish before the coverage which would pay my way was ready, but I knew I'd get there. If today my body was mine, it was time to do what I wanted with it. As I worked, the phone rang. After the customary greeting, I offered a succinct summary of the question I'd emailed. Her answer cleared the path ahead, and I assented. She replied, "We do the vaginoplasties on Tuesday. How about the 17th?"