Comparison is the thief of joy. I’ve heard this saying for the first time over the summer from a mentor and it seemed to haunt me ever since. It’s not that I haven’t heard some form of this concept before but it was something about the thief part that vexed me. The thought of being robbed of my happiness by anyone or anything was against everything I personally stood for.
While prepping for my what’s next and recovering from my gynecomastia surgery, I experienced the gift that kept on giving. That gift was waking up every morning before hopping into the shower, and being reminded of my brand new flat chest. I often revel about my anticipation of walking around the pool or on the beach without a shirt. Yes, sometimes it’s the little things that seem so monumental to a person.
With each week, the results continue to improve. I found myself doing constant mirror check in’s several times a day. This would also include trying on shirts that I either stopped wearing because of my enlarged male breasts or because I prematurely purchased them only to realize they were was no way in hell I could pull off such a body conscious piece of clothing. My post surgery reaction to my new results was always the same. I was overjoyed that this was my new body and this decision; my decision to have the surgery was the right one for me!
I got to this place after years of struggling with gynecomastia.
Over the holidays I spent some much needed time with my family. It was then that I confided with my first best friend ever, my sister. I revealed that I had surgery to correct my man boobs I wasn’t prepared for her reaction of being totally surprised that this was even an issue for me. When I showed her before photos of my chest, her response was, “that doesn’t look bad to me. It looks normal.” Her words were comforting, supportive, and like always, said with love. I realized in that moment that my sister could only see me in the manner that she always have. I am her little brother, any imperfection I may have, is not indicative of whom I am. I loved her for that. It did however, made me question my decision to have the removal treatment surgery. Could it be that I made a mistake? Were there other things I could have done with my time and money?
I sat there for a moment across from my sister and was grateful that there was someone in my life that would always see me for me and not my appearance, my profession, or whom I chose to love. There is however, another version of myself that she and many others in my life aren’t privy to. Everyone I know that cares for me isn’t at the gym with me. They aren’t witnessing the nutritional changes I’ve made with my food consumption, my strenuous workouts that left me drained to the point of exhaustion, only to still not be able to meet my fitness goals because of my enlarged male breasts. They aren’t aware of the clothes that found an eternal resting place on shelves and in drawers because I either can’t fit them anymore, or they would expose the very thing I do not want the world to see. They are not there when I’m writing for my blog, hunched over and when I reach to get a sip of my coffee, my breasts begin to sway. I won’t even mention how they uncomfortably rest on my protruding gut when I’ve put on a few pounds from vacations, stress eating, and holiday meals. Lastly, the people that love me aren’t there for my intimate encounters and how my male breasts, throughout the years, have made me painfully insecure to be sexual or even to pursue another relationship for fear of being rejected or viewed as not a man due to the feminine like appearance of my chest.
I am a man.
Of course I love the kind words family and friends have to offer but I got to this place after years of struggling with gynecomastia. I knew that words could not change my situation any more than increased wide grip bench presses at the gym. There is no turning back. What’s done is done and my commitment to better health, and a stronger body as a result is ON!
The one thing that I would want anyone to know about this particular surgery is that it’s not always perfect (although I’m extremely happy with my results), but subconsciously, it is everything men like me who have suffered privately for years could hope for, a flat chest that looks like it belongs to a man! Nothing feels better than the way confidence does. Some men take for granted casually going to the pool without embarrassment. I now can’t wait for the temperature to hit beach weather or my next tropical vacation. I want to finally experience the freedom that other men have that I have always wanted and deserved. I’ve earned that right!
As the weeks continue pass, my compression vests don’t feel as foreign on my body as they once did. Some days, I actually forget it’s there until it’s time to remove it and take a shower. To say that my life has changed for the better is an understatement. My smile is bigger, my walk has an additional swagger, and I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with old acquaintances simply because I was at a better place mentally in order to do so. The one post effect of surgery that has surprised me the most, is how my gym workouts have finally connected with my current mindset. The physical results of my workouts are now beginning to show the results that I wouldn’t have been able to see previously, due to the excessive amount of fatty tissue taken residence on my chest. I’ve also come to terms with knowing that despite my gynecomastia, I am a man. A man who chose to do what I needed to in order to feel closer to the person I was becoming.
I have said over and over that Dr. Ginsberg at Lexington Plastic surgery has changed me life! He was responsible for allowing the person I was on the inside to be reflected on the outside. I know now that I have the confidence to take it from here and chose my happiness on my terms. I look forward to comparing myself not to Instagram models, but to the fitter versions of myself from the past. I can now build on that vision without any shameful and physical hindrance. The opportunity to stand for my new belief system and choices is one I’m willing to take full advantage of. Comparison may be the thief of joy but taking action in your life is the purveyor of personal growth and freedom.