Floating

Is it floating or is it ennui? I’m not sure right now. I’ve been under the weather consistently as of late, suffering pains of aging and misuse, and generally feeling run down and uninspired.

Uninspired. This is it. I am uninspired by life at this moment. Every project, artistic endeavor or whatever is just another thing and it’s hard for me to remain excited about any of it. It’s all just so…blah. I’m not sure why I’m doing any of it right now. I’m finishing my novel series just to finish, but it doesn’t excite me. I’m writing a play and a short story just to write a play and a short story, but neither project keeps me up at night contemplating the success of the work and what I can do to make it better. It’s all just words.

Days just roll on by and soon another round of whatever will pass and there will be highlights, but they won’t seem all that high really. I don’t want to see people anymore. I don’t care about the media I study or the news I read. It’s all just there and I have no connection to it other than disinterest.

And this seems depressing and I suppose I am somewhat depressed by it all. But I’m not even passionate about the depression. It’s simply a shrug like the pain in my elbow. It’s there and whatever. I still have to get up in the morning and make coffee and walk the dog and go to work.

And when I go to sleep at night, I imagine this amazing city where I ultimately isolate myself. I don’t like people all that much. Recent events seem to bear that out. People are disappointing. I want them to be better and they just aren’t. They have sapped my passions.

I see people who are far more passionate than I am. I tried to be passionate and it didn’t turn out well. I’m not sure why I should ever really try again because ultimately I feel doomed to some level of mediocrity. Even if I’m not mediocre, I will never life the life I really want, which is to be able to live in celebrated isolation. I suppose I admire Salinger for having done that.

I hope I find a reason to enjoy the world soon. I’m not planning on leaving it, so no worries. I just want to enjoy it and want to want to engage with it. Right now I don’t. Right now I’m just floating…

The Fool

The problems that I have now are not the problems that I had prior to transitioning. Or, more true, they are the problems I had, but was often blind to because of the gravitational focus of transitioning. They are problems, however, and I am sometimes successful in dealing with them and sometimes not so much. I am as liable to become stressed out now as I was before and I am often no better at dealing with the stress than I was before and more likely now than before to be more bluntly emotional as I deal with things…and just as likely to eat a problem or two into a carb cloud of “I don’t want to think about it right now”.

Transitioning solves a bunch of problems, but not all and, yes, I never expected it to do so. I’m not a fool. At least not a total fool.

Image

Ok, maybe I am a fool. In my classroom, I have a rather large version of this tarot card decorating part of the wall. It is a reminder that the journey of my life is a Fool’s quest and my head is often in the clouds not noticing where my feet are leading me. I think that for many of us, transitioning is a Fool’s journey. We have an idealized version of what it will mean to get to our destination, but we are really just ┬átaking a leap of faith off of a cliff and hoping that it all works out for the best.

Sometimes things do work out. Heck, discarding the trappings of the male from my life has been a great relief and even though it has placed me in an embattled minority or two, I’m good with who I am. I like me, mostly. I like me now and I am often pissed at the person I was because I made a lot of mistakes born of self-loathing. If I had only known that I would not always have loathed myself, I might have been more inclined to forethought and less likely to look back, shaking my head at the idiocy of my youth.

I don’t think one has to be trans to look back at youthful transgressions. I think one simply has to live long enough to have enough distance to recognize that mistakes were made. But being youthfully trans made me more inclined towards the kinds of self-destructive activities that now occasionally haunt my present. Transitioning doesn’t change one’s fingerprints and I still own the actions done under a discarded name.

So it goes.

I have a better life, but it is not as good as it could or should be. Transitioning has not remade me perfect. I’m a woman with problems still. I saw my therapist a couple of weeks ago and she asked why I still talked about trans things. She said I wasn’t trans anymore and should leave that part of my identity behind. Not quite stealth, really. Just not existing in that space of being trans in any fashion. I defended my trans identity to a point, but really, I don’t actively engage in trans related activities. I am, but I don’t do. It’s like being Jewish. I am, but I don’t do. But when someone attacks trans people or Jewish people, I feel the sting of it. And if called to fight, I will fight.

I’m not called to fight, though. As I don’t exist in any real Jewish space, I don’t exist in any trans space. Aside from talking about it with a class at a local community college, I just about never talk about it. I think I thought while I was transitioning that it would be important to maintain some kind of active trans involvement, but when it comes down to it, I have problems still. Problems that need my attention and they are not always my problems, but many are and I need to address them more so that I do the problems of trans people. In some respects, I want to be more involved, but that would mean I have enough time in my life, fewer immediate problems in my life, to give me time to participate.

So it goes.

So it goes for me. I cannot be anyone but myself. I’ve worked hard to be able to be just me. I’m not perfect by any stretch and often quite foolish. And I’m alive and human, which is an inherently foolish thing to be.

Simple Joys (for when life sucks)

Sometimes life seems like it’s not what it should be. I think trans people get this more than most. We spend a lot of time looking at other people and wishing that our lives were like theirs…envying their not having to deal with what we deal with because it seems like they have a somewhat easier go of it. After all, we have all the regular old problems they do… plus the trans thing. I cannot tell you how many times I have wished the trans thing into the cornfield. Wishes don’t do a whole lot of good, though. There are still days that suck and sometimes they just suck in that way that life can kind of suck and sometimes it’s the trans thing rearing its stupid trans thing head and spitting suck all over everything.

Truth is, I hate where I live. I have a lot of days on my job that I love that I hate. I have days where some kid snickers and I know it’s about me or I just hear one too many bits of life truth from a teenager with a shitty home life and it gets to me and I want to run screaming to something else. But I go back to work because it’s work and sometimes I love doing the job enough that I can overcome my flight response and I go back to work and do the job and listen to the stories and offer my best shoulder for the tears.

And there are times when it seems like there will be no escape from the place, that we’re stuck in the suck of the place, the suck that comes from so many different factors. What I’ve been trying to do, trying so hard to do is to accept the suck as part of my day-to-day the same way I accept the trans thing as a part of my life. I was told yesterday that my transition is something of a model for how to do it right and I wish that were entirely true. I’ve certainly been fortunate in many regards and there are times where I feel like I walked between the raindrops. At the same time, none of this is easy and being unhappy in the place I’m in doesn’t make it all that much better.

But I’m here in the here and now and I cannot live in a universe of crap because that is not living at all.┬áSo I grasp onto bits of the present that don’t suck at all.

I grasp onto my children because they are wonderful, beautiful beings…the joy that I helped bring into the world. In the midst of being a somewhat stern parent, I look at them and smile.

I grasp onto my spouse because even though she does not think it, she is the best person in the world. I am fortunate beyond measure to have her in my life and though I don’t deserve her, she is here with me. A small reward from the universe for being a better person and I only wish to be better still to be a proper reward for her as best as I can be.

I find the simple joy in my job, the plays…the play. The joy of bringing theatre to kids who need it. The knowledge I give my students who need a family a kind of weird and cool family to be a part of when nothing else seems to be going their way.

I try to live in the present because the past holds nothing more than lessons and the future is too timey wimey, too uncertain. I know the now and for good or ill, I can live in it and smile at my little cat madly chasing phantoms down the hall or that odd moment when my spouse has discovered something beautiful or clever or funny and she smiles and lights up my world or my kids spend an hour of insanity in the bath tub.

The simple joys of the present even when all the suck is right outside the door and the trans thing wants to make it worse. I clear out a little space of something wonderful and I allow myself permission to stay there.

It’s like Ben Vereen sings it…

What is it about the end of May?

Six years ago, my daughter was born at the end of May. It was a scheduled birth. We knew she was coming and, well, the birth of a child is cause to celebrate and worry and stress. That being said, an amazing day. Life changing.

Two years ago, I went full time for good (it started as a summer adventure than never ended. But the month before was pretty stressful because I tend to do everything possible internally to be stressed, psyching myself up for the challenges. I was ready for it, but really nervous. That being said, it was an amazing time. I celebrated it at Disney land.

One year ago, at the end of May, I had my surgery. The month of May both dragged on and flew by and the end result was amazing. Life changing.

Here I am about to enter yet another May full of stress. If all goes well, the end will be amazing. Life changing.

If not, I’ll have the summer off and life will go on as normal and, well, normal’s pretty good as well and I’ve had a lot of life changing recently, so I’ll be okay.

But for now? Stress. At least I’m on a diet.

Saying Goodbye to 2012

I used to look back on the year that was with some modicum of regret at the things I did not get done and there were always many and many were correctable if I had only been…

So I continue that practice first, because those things I did not do in 2012 can be accomplished in 2013. I can look back at the flaws of the year as a challenge, however, and not a regret. Because if I have learned anything over the last few years, it is not to regret anything because what is done is done and cannot be regretted away. So this list of things is not of regrets, but rather those things still yet to do:

  • Have a healthy body…and yes, this includes losing weight. Something about the winter season seems to include gaining weight, which I seem to have done with some great success. And this is a promise I make to myself every year and have yet to keep. This year I keep it because on my path to self-improvement and enlightenment, this is one of the last great steps and I will take it.
  • Procrastinate less…I say less because it is unreasonable to say not at all. I’m not Hamlet continually putting off until tomorrow what I could be doing today, but I am skilled at last minute heroics and I would like to see what happens if I do things right away rather than later…at least more of the time.
  • Lighten up. I’m a very serious person and seemingly get more so as the years roll on. For my kids, I need to be playful and fun more often than not. They need to know that I am there for them for anything, including just wrestling every now and again.
  • Clean more…just because I work a lot of hours away from the house doesn’t excuse me from being more on top of things at home. But this goes back to the procrastination thing.

There’s my current list of things to do and why yet I live to say this thing’s to do sith I have cause and will and strength and means to do it.

But oh, 2012, I have done some good here yet.

I published my second novel and that’s no small feat. If you’ve written a novel or more, you’ll understand the triumph of this. If all goes well, I’ll have my third out this year and it is one of the things in my life of which I have rightfully taken some pride, my ability to start and finish these works and believe in their quality.

And there was that little matter of a surgery. Not so little, really. Some may try to downplay it, but for me it is still an amazing thing to be able to live a life where I can know something like peace with myself. To say that GRS is unimportant or unnecessary is not to need it as I did. Simply. I can do something as simple as pee and not be bothered, pained, by the presence of what was once there and is no longer. It’s an amazing thing. I know what it is not to wonder if life would be better because I know and it is. Life is better now. Living is simpler now. I can think about other things and do.

I began a new journey in learning, discovering the world of Educational Information and Technology. I’ll have my MS in it this year, but more importantly, I see where my field is heading and I believe in it and believe that we can make changes now that will pay dividends in the present and future, but we need more believers. Right now, most pay lip service to it, but few actually commit to changing their practice to do what is best for the students. I feel like a revolutionary and wish only to have Eponine’s waist (and voice). I will fight for this in some area or find new areas to explore.

Finally, I’ve come to terms with who I am in this world and found the terms for who that person is. I’m trans and say it proudly because to do otherwise would be to feel shame and I am unashamed of who I am. I will continue to live and love and be myself always.

So goodbye 2012. A good year. One of my best. A year that promises better years to come and I embrace them as I did this one.

Dancing With My Kids

Last night, my children, especially my daughter, were doing strange interpretive dances to Colin Hay singing acoustic Men At Work classics. This was, in and of itself, one of the most strange and entertaining and wonderful things I could ever imagine watching and I wondered if other parents are gifted with equally strange and wonderful children.

It’s something I don’t ask other parents because often when I talk about my kids, I feel like I’m one of those parents who spends all her time bragging about how special and wonderful her kids are. And, truly, my children are special and wonderful, incredibly smart and gifted and wildly weird. I know they are exceptional and so I try not to discuss how exceptional they are too often because I try not to be one of those parents too often.

But my kids are awesome and really free spirits who dance and sing with abandon and have very few limits placed on their imaginations or how they express themselves. I believe this has resulted in my daughter’s penchant for interpretive dance. I didn’t teach her to dance like that nor did anyone else I know of…it’s very weird.

Anyway, so they were dancing to Colin Hay, Who Can It Be Now…not a big dance hit. So I, being me, put on You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon because it was in my head and I thought they could have some fun dancing to it and they were and then, because I can, I got up and danced with them and didn’t care what a goofball I was because I was having the best time with my most wonderful children and all the crap going around in my head, just for that song, disappeared and I was as happy as I’ve ever been.

I don’t dance enough and I don’t express the joy of my life enough. I don’t stop thinking enough and just have fun with my family. But when I do and remember to let go and just laugh and be a goofball, it’s as good as it gets.

A Notable Day

Today is a day of milestones…markers on the path that we travel around in a circular fashion. I suppose as the earth makes it way around the sun we can imagine all these little milestones in space and wave to them as we pass. Some having taken a more permanent spot to be visited at every passing and others just there momentarily before they are sucked into the heliosphere and burn up there.

My permanent calendar marker for today indicates that I had my last cigarette 13 years ago. That was 1999 when I kept my promise to myself not to be a smoker past my 30th birthday. I had been a smoker since the tender age of 15 and I thought at the time that 15 years of smoking was as much as anyone needed to devote to an addiction. Also, I think it was a couple of days past Thanksgiving that year and things didn’t feel right. Rather than hope those feelings would pass and medicating them with another pack of cigarettes, I turned that key in my mind that one must turn in these cases and stopped smoking. Cold turkey, which I believe is the only way to do this.

You just have to stop and find something else to stick in your mouth for a while or forever. I used sugar-free mints, lemon flavored. I consumed them with a vigor and found them so much cheaper than cigarettes that I was able to fuel my new addiction to collecting CDs. I collected a lot of CDs and rather obsessively, too. But I still have them whereas I have few reminders or keepsakes from my years of smoking. In two years, I’ll have made it past that milestone of having been a non-smoker for as many years past smoking as I spent smoking. So for all of my friends who laughed when I told them I was quitting… thank you for your doubt. It was good fuel in the beginning when I needed it more than kind support.

My other, more transitory marker for today is that this is the six month anniversary of my surgery date. Normally, I do not mark any anniversaries outside of a year because when you start micro-celebrating, what is the minimal cut off period?

But for my recovery, today is important because I no longer have to dilate twice a day. I’m down to once and with one fewer dilator. And, yes, this is the reality for the next 6 months, but it’s a little more freedom from that routine and I’m happy to put the blue one away and happy to have just that much more of my day back.

Milestones are also a time to reflect and while I know that six months is not that long in comparison to the rest of my life, just 1/85th of it meaning that it will be another 83 measures of six months before I can say I’ve spent as much time with my present physical reality as my previous (I suppose this is as good a reason as any not to micro-celebrate), I am still not at the point where I…interact…with my new parts without wonder. There’s a kind of magic in it that is science of course but magic nonetheless that so short a procedure can make such a huge difference to the way I feel about myself.

I imagine there will come a time in the some 83 half turns from now when I no longer think too much on the wonder of this…on what it took to quit a bad habit and on the terraforming of my body to make it livable. But for the time being, I still retain the right and privilege to reflect and celebrate these notable days.