I wanted to post this earlier, but as so often happens, other things came up and I wasn’t even able to start it, never mind getting it posted. Well, I can do it now, I’m sure most of my original thoughts have stayed with me enough to make sense.
Since the beginning of the year things have been strange for me and I have had difficulty working through just what is different now. Other than myself I suppose, though I think I have finally come to an answer.
For me, this year is going to be one of transition. This may sound strange if you’ve followed me for very long, after all, isn’t this what the last two years have been about?
Yes and no.
To this point my transition, such as it is, has been a mental journey. It hasn’t been about only coming to accept myself, but of working through a great many issues. Some I was aware of, others not. In the end I have found it necessary to let go of a great deal of baggage I have carried with me for far too long. Therapy has helped with this as has going on medication to get me to a place where I could face so many issues. There was a great deal of pain, betrayal, anger, sorrow and regret and some of these things remain, a permeant reminder of what I have been through. Just as a scar is a reminder of an injury…
These last two years I have been in survival mode, just struggling to get from one day to the next without coming apart from the pressures inside. When I thought of a way to describe it, an avalanche came to mind. An unstoppable force of nature sweeping away everything in its path and me, a skier trying to keep from being buried alive. The motion and noise were incredible. So intense I sometimes lost sight of anything except for the next second, trying to avoid the ever mounting pile of debris which surrounded me. Oh, there were times of peace and calm, a second here and there to catch my breath and get my bearings but little real relief.
And then I reached this point.
Have you ever been in a situation where there is a flurry of activity. Intense concentration as you maneuver your way through? Did you find, when it ended, it still took you a few moments to realize it was over? To regain your balance and be able to take a breath? The change is striking. The silence so intense it is almost pain.
Did you stand there lost and confused?
I know I did.
You see, I have gone from the terror of the avalanche to the startling peace the valley beyond and it has taken me until now to realize where I am and how much has changed. The silence rings in my ears and brightness of untouched possibility is blinding. I am battered and bruised, but I survived.
More, I am alive and those two things are a lifetime apart.
I know the difference.
I have survived before but I did not live. I was nothing more than a shellshocked survivor left to look around at the destruction which surrounded me and I could never have imagined the possibility of rebuilding. To make something new, better for myself and those around me.
Now I do.
For me this is what transition is really means. To move beyond what was and to embrace what might be. I still have a lot of cleaning up to do, not just mentally, emotionally as well and getting out of my own head to cleaning up my life in the real world as well. To discarding a lifetime of uselessness and gathering around me only those things which have usefulness and meaning.
I have a house I have lived in for more than a decade and it is overflowing with “things.” Books, magazines, bits and pieces from the past I couldn’t bear to let go of. Toys I had as a child, books I read in high school. I have been a true pack rat over the years, always making one excuse or another about why I shouldn’t throw something away and which has now sat in a box, forgotten for more years than my oldest son has been alive.
I know now it was because I felt I had lost everything. Anything of importance or value to me. Not the way I thinking of it. Not in terms of things, but in those things which only I could give away or allow to be taken from me. My self worth. My self respect. The love I should have had for myself…
In their place I had put things. Object into which I had placed the value I should have given myself.
There are boxes and boxes now. Filling up the basement, stuffed into closets. I don’t even know what is in most of them anymore…
So you tell me, do they really have any worth at all?
This is part of my transition. To take back what is mine. To regain all I have given away or discarded over the years. Not things. Not objects. Not anything which can be captained in a box to be taken out and admired for a moment before it tucked away and forgotten once more…
My heart. My mind. My strength. My love. My self respect. My self worth.
These are what I am reclaiming as my own.
Yes, I am sure there will continue to be more than this. More to my physical transition, my mental transition. Yet, for the moment, they are secondary. I said before, it does not matter what I look like or what name I use, I am still me regardless and this is true. I see this now in a way I couldn’t before. Those things are an extension of what I am inside, at my core. They hold an importance in my life only in so far as they will allow me to exist in the world as the outward expression of myself… They are not me in and of themselves. Without me investing the heart and soul it would be the same thing as I have already lived, just from a different side of the fence.
“He” is and always will be a costume. A mask. A disguise worn not out of choice. He is not me. He never was. Not really. Not where it counted. In my heart. In my soul.
“She” is and must be more than this. I cannot wear her when it is convenient and take her off when she is not.
He was what I was expected to be.
She is who I am.