Facial dysphoria

I’m still in this weird place where I go back and forth almost every other day about whether I like my face better now or with the beard. But today as I was feeling wishful for my beard again I looked back at my photos and realized I’ve gotten used to my face as it is now and my beard looks odd to me. I guess I’ve successfully adapted my brain to my facial¬† structure.

I am still having a lot of dysphoria around how dark and thick my hair follicles are on my face. And how my face constantly has red bumps, whiteheads, and cuts from shaving. So I reached out to a trans electrolysis¬†esthetician about starting the process of permanent hair removal on my face. I can’t really afford it but I also can’t afford to live with this level of dysphoria either so I’ll have to find a way. It takes so long that I know I should start now.

Today I’m also having dysphoria around my double chin. I’ve tried to ignore it as I’ve continued to put on more weight over the last 10 years but it’s a lot more obvious without the beard. My jaw surgeon said that setting my chin back may make that part worse but he will do his best to reduce it. I may need a chin tuck at some point though.

Sometimes I regret shaving but I think realistically the only way through is forward.

Jaw feminization

I just talked to my oral surgeon about what can be done to feminize my chin, the biggest source of dysphoria for me at this point, when I go in to align my teeth this Winter. This is a major oral surgery I’ve been dreading for almost 10 years now as I waited for the right insurance and financial stability to make it possible. But now that there is the possibility it could make my face more tolerable, I’m actually excited.

I started the process 2 years ago when I first met with the surgeon before I was out and thinking about what the impact of my prominent, square, cleft chin was. I’ve been using my beard to cover it up for so long that I sometimes forget that this really ugly-feeling part of me is underneath. I found out just how much it would cost and realized I needed a new job to make this work. The next step was the braces I got installed in January which re-align my teeth back to where they will need to be after the surgery. Unfortunately, in the short term, the braces have made my dysphoria and confidence worse. The first day I had them I dissociated so badly that I felt like I was walking around viewing the world through a long, dark tunnel. It has gotten better since but I still can’t wait to get them off.

But the end of stage one is finally in sight so I got up the courage to reach out to the surgeons office to find out if there were parts of facial feminization that could be accomplished as part of this procedure. I was both excited and terrified as the appointment got close this month fearing that he would just dismiss my concerns and focus on function. But it went surprisingly well. For an old white cis dude he seemed to really get it. He talked about the various things that he can do to tilt the lower jaw back, shave off the harsher edges, and bring it more in line with the rest of my face. He even was aware enough of the gendered aspects that he is suggesting increasing how much of my upper teeth are visible when my lips part because apparently that is a feminine trait.

He was cautious about over-promising and he is limited with how much he can do because of the potential impacts on my breathing and sleep apnea and the amount of muscle I have on my chin. But I am hopeful that it can be enough better that I can actually face myself in the mirror without my beard. He promised to do some advanced prediction models and show me several options we can discuss at our pre-surgery appointment so I can have some say in how my new face will look.

I’m especially excited for this since my insurance doesn’t cover facial feminization. And overall that’s not really a primary concern of mine on the rest of my face since I have great cheekbones (even according to the surgeon) and a good nose that balances my face. So if I can get this all done in one surgery that I’ve been planning for so long, I will be very happy.

Now to see if I can actually live without the beard for the next few months before surgery. I haven’t gotten up the courage to go into the barber yet…