Myself sacrificed to myself, I kept repeating, on the way into the Cleveland clinic where I was getting top surgery. Myself sacrificed to myself.
I felt guilty for being scared of the surgery — guilty, and girly, and less than queer. Everything I read about top surgery online was joy and pride and euphoria, longing for the sacred date of surgery, posting hazy, beaming selfies from your hospital bed as you woke up.
I wasn’t sure I would wake up, was the thing. The last time I’d been in a hospital was for my child’s birth, and everything had gone wrong; my labor had stalled, someone had used a dirty tool to break my water, I got a bacterial infection in the amniotic fluid and then a fever and then I was on oxygen and fading in and out of consciousness and eventually they just cut me open because, if they didn’t, the baby would die.
I remember that they strapped me down for the C-section with my arms out to the side. I had the distinct impression that I was being crucified. Someone was going to cut me open and start taking organs out of me, and there was nothing I could do, because they had tied me down, and I was on drugs and also delirious and also hadn’t slept in about twenty-four hours, and so suddenly I realized who I was: I was Prometheus. I had stolen fire from Zeus. I had tried to do a thing I was never supposed to do, get pregnant — men could not get pregnant — and now an eagle would tear my liver out for eternity.
I tried to explain this whole thing to my husband, who was standing over me at the head of the operating table, but he doesn’t remember. “You just kept saying Zeus, Zeus,” he told me later, laughing. “You were so high.”