Dr. Barry Eppley had finished removing the stitches and staples from my lips and scalp. We were chatting about how I now looked, and whether I might be content with where I am or possibly want him to do more.
We talked about each aspect of my face. As we were dissecting my features, he asked if I knew the word, “gestalt.” Before explaining that, consider this.
Picture your favorite hamburger, with all the fixin’s you like. Mmm, all the flavors together taste so good.
What if you were to eat that same burger, one part at a time. First, the patty. Then, the bun. Now, the ketchup, then the mustard. Chomp on the pickles, and finish up with the onions.
How do you like that hamburger, now? It’s the same burger, and yet it is not.
Here is what “gestalt” means: “A configuration, pattern, or organized field having specific properties that cannot be derived from the summation of its component parts; a unified whole.”
To be enjoyed, a hamburger must be a unified whole. How much more the human face, and the entire human body?
As I used three posts to roll out my face surgery, showing you my brow, then my lips, and finally my neck—especially placing together before and after shots—was okay, but not nearly as satisfying as showing my entire face. Even more, in my transitioning, my face could not alone be addressed, but also my chest and bottom, along with my hormones—even my legal name. I needed to be a unified whole.
Gestalt, baby! Here we go! I’ve arrived, the completed Gina Joy Eilers!
Before I had my face surgery, I told folks that I will still look like me, and I will look differently. I do believe that idea has worked perfectly.
So, here I am. And, not only my face, because, as I said, my entire person was part of this transition.
A favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” The Lord strengthens me spiritually, and He gives me earthly gifts to do the same. My greatest earthly gift is Julie. With Julie, I have been able to do all that I have needed to get healthy!
Referring to the two photos, below, I still love the Detroit Tigers and hot dogs with mustard and onions, and shows like The Simpsons. I am dazzled that I have done everything a person can do in transitioning, and in every important way—my Christian faith, everyone and everything I love and value, my personality and sense of humor, and how I live my daily life—did not change a bit.
And even got better, deeper, and enriched, including my faith in Jesus Christ growing much stronger.
Finally, after a nearly lifelong struggle, and closing in on four years since I became suicidal because I was in such mental and emotional anguish, I am healthy. Indeed, I find myself the most healthy in mind, body, and soul as I have ever been.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for all of your goodness to me, both now and forever! Thank you, Julie, for living your marriage vow to me as thoroughly as a person can!