I'm writing this as a placeholder for an earlier essay I wrote over a year ago (it is currently May of 2018 as I write this) that I know has been linked to in other places but which is inaccurate to the point where... well, I'm just not comfortable having it directly accessible like that anymore. If you want to read the original post, I have it archived on The Wayback Machine as it was before I wrote this explanation.
I went a little under a year convincing myself that I didn't need top surgery. Once I realized that I in fact did really need it to feel whole, I really started wracking my brain about it, because I'd spent so long advocating for acceptance of non-op trans guys that I was forcibly pushing out of my head the fact that I was really trying to convince myself that I didn't need it.
Mind you, I genuinely didn't think I needed it. At first. But this was a part of a flurry of factors that happened after I went off testosterone, which I'd done probably a little under a year before making that declaration. The thing is, going off of testosterone has (so far) been such a great decision for me that for a while it almost made me a little high, and I was having a great time coming up with other standard aspects of trans guy paraphernalia that I could boldly reject. Notably, I was actively rejecting the obligation to do anything cis men aren't obligated to do.
Cis men don't have to inject with hormones to be considered men. Cis men don't have to bind to be considered men. Cis men don't need to have surgery to be considered men. Cis men can wear makeup and hippie clothes and not have their manhood seriously questioned. So why should I have to conform to something different? Why can't I wear sarongs and makeup and have boobs, when I see cis guys at festivals and shit who basically look just like me who aren't told they aren't "real men" because of it?
And I still stand by this 100%. I have no standard for how "far" somebody must go to be considered a genuine trans man. I refuse to be a gatekeeper, and fuck truscum. But as for me personally... the urge to incorporate more femininity into my expression has mostly passed. I got it out of my system, outside of a couple of outlets for feminine expression I value greatly (I may talk about those when they manifest further) but which aren't a daily thing. In fact, somehow--and this was a shock to me, believe me--going off hormones actually made me more masc than I was before going off of it, after a short fem-honeymoon period.
So I'd settled into this pretty highly masculine mode of expression but was insisting that my breasts were still fine. "I can be a masculine man with breasts," I said. Still true. But without consciously realizing it, I started changing my behavior. Where I was standing up straight and confident, I started hunching over whenever I thought somebody was looking at me. I started finding shirts "didn't fit" as well, even though they actually fit exactly the same as they did before, because I was less and less comfortable with my breasts showing through them.
Late one night I bought some TransTape. While this turned out to be terrible, it got me thinking "Why the hell do I want this stuff? I know it's not good for me." And I started remembering all the other behavior modifications I was making, how it was starting to have its own health effects (both emotional in terms of insecurity and physical in terms of poor posture and trying stupid shit to bind).
I'm still worried about the health problems I discussed in my original post, something I will need to individually take up with my surgeon (regarding the type of surgery I choose and aftercare). But the hippie "I don't need surgery ever ever" part of me just isn't working out anymore.
If you still don't want surgery? That's absolutely fine. Maybe you will also change your mind, but there's nothing wrong with you if you never do.