Life is overwhelming and busy right now. I have a huge grant due in a few days. It’s work that I’m tremendously excited about, but it’s taking over vast swathes of time. Gail is shouldering a great deal of kid-duty while I get this in (THANK YOU! I so have your back during finals, honey). I’m working lots of weekends.
Despite the pressure, I’ve had a lovely weekend.
One hard thing about working more in the last months is that I’m not out there. It’s no problem to look how I want, but I’m living under old name and pronouns. No matter how exciting the work is, or how great my colleagues are (pretty great), when I’m there I feel a bit like the axe is about to fall. So this weekend, working from home, bouncing between writing sessions at the coffeeshop and time home with the kids, snagging evening time with Gail to reconnect and have our usual interesting conversations, and getting to be me all the time, just felt really good, like getting this little pocket of my whole life lining up perfectly and getting a nice glimpse of the future (though hopefully one with less work on the weekends most of the time).
One thing I noticed is that I’m just really happy. When I first started putting two and two together, I felt like I was swinging wildly between absolute bliss and abject terror. Could this really be what I wanted? Was I really saying I needed to be a guy?!? Surely there was some other explanation for how I was feeling. And even if I went with it, which would feel great for a second, mere moments later the future looked uttery impossible.
But bit by bit, I’m living in that future. And so far, the future is pretty awesome.
I caught this post from Meike the other day, where he wrote that on the eve of his first T injection, he snuck into one of his girlfriends shirts, trying, one last time, to pull off the girl thing. Even though the future is turning out pretty great, I still get moments that remind me of Meike’s, times when I think “I cannot possibly be right about this. I just need to try harder.” (In general, that’s my answer to everything, note that my whole approach to pregnancy was along these lines.)
Snuggled up with Gail several nights ago, she said something about possible surgery logistics and I thought “This is absolutely ridiculous. I can’t actually be planning this. I must not really need it.” Out loud, I said something like “I think maybe I don’t really need it. I think I just need to practice having my shirt off.”
Gail: “You say things like this all the time and it never works out…”
Me: “No really. I can do it. I just didn’t stick with it before. I’ll do it right now, see?”
I slipped out of my shirt and binder, tried to think how nice it was to actually feel my skin for a second, immediately felt sick and put my clothes right back on. I teared up and felt awful and embarrassed, but I still thought “I’ll just have to figure out a better way next time.”
Gail: “You really do things like this all the time and it never works. You always forget. You can quit doing this to yourself.”
Me: “I do?”
Gail: “You really do.”
Way back when I first tried on that binder, I knew right away that this was how I was supposed to look. The feeling was so strong and so utterly clear.
But did I just accept the clarity? No. I twisted it around, and figured that if it was that strong and obvious for me, probably everyone else would feel exactly the same way, but look, hardly anyone is going and signing up for top surgery now are they? See? They all are reasonable people able to exercise a modicum of self-control and make peace with the hand they were dealt.
I missed the part where the reason I thought everyone else must feel this way, the reason I looked around and thought “why the hell isn’t everyone signing up to cut those things off ASAP?” didn’t have anything to do with them. Rather, it was that for me the answer was obvious, and I didn’t want it to be.
I’m not sure how that all ties back into how great this weekend was. Maybe it’s just that in noticing how happy I’m feeling now, I get to realize that those pockets of doubt and fear come less often. I get to leave them behind for longer stretches of time. This weekend, I’m not feeling that way. I just feel happy, and if I pause for a second, it’s so clear that my life is changing for the better. In the midst of all this hard work and stress, I get to feel lucky. Lucky and grateful.