selfaware soup

Esther Weidauer

2022 – A Dense Year

A whole new face, a whole new life, and becoming more me


roman numerals MMXXII in pink/purple

Where do I even start with this year? When I try to look back on it, I feel like this should have been at least 3 years given how much has happened. But ok, I’ll go through things step by step.

A New Face

In February of this year I went to Marbella (Spain) and literally got my face peeled off (and then but back with significant alterations to my skull and other parts).

Over the course of a few months I went from this (day before surgery):

Three shots of my face from different sides in very flat lighting and fully relaxed facial muscles. hair pulled back

to this (about 3 months post-surgery):

Three selfies from different angles, inside

And that was with just a few days of healing. Over the following months, scars and swelling would disappear and my face would settle into it’s new shape.

I did not expect that the procedure would have such a tremendous impact on my self-image and how comfortable I feel in my own body. Sometimes you only realize how bad something was when it’s fixed. This was absolutely one of the most significant things I’ve done in my entire life.

I’ve written a much longer article about the entire process, including a lot of photos and gritty details, over here: Face Off, Face On.

A Whole New Life

At the beginning of 2022 I was working as an engineering manager at a major tech company, with a 15 year career in tech under my belt. By all accounts I was good at what I did, I was well compensated and often received outstandingly positive feedback from my peers, reports and higher-ups alike.

And I hated every minute of it.

I have probably been suffering from a full-on burnout since at least 2019, just dragging myself from one week to the next. My plan was to somehow keep working until spring of 2023 before quitting and moving on to something new entirely. But due to my deteriorating health and my employer at the time deciding to fully commit to crypto/NFT/web3 bullshit on top of their already highly questionable ethical track record, I accelerated my plans to get out of this entire industry. So I quit in April and was out by the end of May.

My plan for the future remains the same: go back to university in 2023 and study psychology with the goal of working as a therapist. It’s an ambitious plan, and the first time in my life I have such a long-term perspective at all.

However now I’m taking a much longer recovery break, more than a year, and it has become clear that it’s very much necessary. The summer and fall of 2022 have brought significant improvements for my mental health.

I’m confident that I’ll be on my feet and ready for big new things in 2023. Having a clear goal to work towards instead of just drifting through life mostly is a strange and unfamiliar feeling but it’s also highly motivating.

The idea of being a student again is still something to get used to, especially since I’ll be so much older than most of the people I’ll be studying with.

Becoming Me

2023 was also a year for a lot of self-discovery. It’s surprising how much you can still find out about yourself even after already spending years in an intense introspection process like a gender transition. I guess once you popped the lid off on this, things just keep pouting out.

This year I finally realized and accepted that I’m very likely autistic. This explains so many things really. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll pursue a formal diagnosis though since that means a lot of stress and effort for probably not much real benefit for me. But it’s something I’m still considering.

I also leaned hard into polyamorous life as I had started dating again at the end of 2021. I’ve been in polyam relationships for years but now is the first time I actually feel like being part of a network of relationships (aka a polycule).

I also started to explore my kinky side this year. I used to struggle with that due to some very bad past experiences but I’m very happy that I overcame those inhibitions.

So Many Other Things

I can’t possibly remember all the things from this year so I’ll just list a bunch in no particular order:

Ok, let’s wrap this up. It’s the last day of 2022 and tomorrow we start a new one. See you around, and good luck 💜