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Before surgery, I had heard of gender euphoria, and I had even used the words to describe an experience I'd had, but fuck if I was lying to myself that I had actually understood it.

I spent the weeks and months leading up to to my top surgery thinking that maybe life would be more convenient without breasts. I thought it would be easier to bike, to shop. I told my therapist this routinely, that I understood it wouldn't fix the misgendering, that if nothing else it would just be easier. That is wasn't about changing for other people, it would just be more convenient if I didn't find have to look at my chest and wonder why it was on my body.

Are you familiar with gender euphoria though? Before surgery, I had heard the words, and thought I understood. I thought it was just enjoying the rare bow tie, and thinking that my binder had flattened me out a little and that that was nice.

Gender euphoria is this rampant, almost hedonistic surge of affirming love for my body. It is looking in a mirror and seeing strength and power and a wholeness that I literally had never known. It fills me up and buoys me that makes the constant waves of misgendering more like gentle ripples in the rain water the day after the storm instead of the boat-toppling sea that used to take me down.

I am so at ease in myself that sometimes I am angry that it took me so long to understand how badly I needed this. Sometimes I'm so broken-hearted that my own internalized transphobia made me blind to the fact that I was, myself, transgender for decades. Even as I wish, in some ways, that I could be stealth, and just be some femme dude, I have re-doubled my efforts to express my newfound gender euphoria. Maybe if I had known more trans people truly living their right lives I could've moved faster. I could've had less heartache.

I don't know if gender euphoria is only possible because of gender dysphoria - I don't know if it's even possible to describe accurately how cramped and poorly fitting my body used to feel to someone who hasn't experienced it.

To honor my newfound gender euphoria, I gave up the idea of conforming to some default masculine version of sexy and went instead for the thing that I know actually charms the pants off of a certain selection of people: a bunch of pictures of me being me. And I'm a big ol' nonbinary dork with a gosh near perfect butt, who smiles and laughs during sex, with more mischief than smolder in my eyes.

Now I know gender euphoria. It feels like these pictures look. Giddy, silly, and sexy - a complete and unhidden me.