Like the ocean, my experience of time comes in waves and tides.
Some hours, days, weeks, even months have tumbled me in the break, leaving me in fear of being caught in its churning maelstrom as I struggle for gasps of air, fearful of my thrashings coming to sudden end by being dashed upon the rocks. Others slip by in almost imperceptible cycles of advance and retreat, advance and retreat, leaving me to look up with a jolt from building my sand castles and realize the hour is late.
If most of 2016 was spent in the break for me, the past couple of months have been spent sitting on the beach, dazed from my ordeal of near-drowning. I’m only now realizing the tide has come in on this year and it’s time to really plan the future.
There’s a tangible surreality to life after being shaken to your core. The life you thought you were living fractures away from the one you are, and you grasp after it, but it glides away with a sickening inevitability because it doesn’t exist. It never did. It was only hopes and dreams now foreclosed forever.
What remains is loss and promise.
The loss is real. Dreams have their own tangibility, even if only brief flights of fancy, and their fading leaves a void. I’m still coming to grips with everything I’ve lost, including my marriage, my job, and my male privilege. That I fundamentally didn’t like them doesn’t matter. They’re gone, and even though they are burdens removed, I still feel a loss.
The promise is real, too. Giving myself permission to be myself was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. In 2017 and beyond, I can simply be myself. There’s a whiff of terror in that. Who am I? Who do I want to be? What am I going to do next? I’m still working on answering those questions.
I’m also thinking about those I met in the surf this year. A few of you I kicked in the head in my struggles. I’m very sorry about causing you pain. I wish I hadn’t done that and I ask your forgiveness.
Others, we’ve helped each other out. Thank you for being there. For every kind word, encouragement, and piece of advice, thank you. I wouldn’t have made it to shore without you.
Looking at the sun and the moon today, it is the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Our days will get longer. Winter will ride it’s sleigh until giving way to Spring and its promise of Summer.
In my heart I know that the next few weeks can be extraordinarily tough for many trans people, with the days filled with more reminders of loss and rejection than promise and acceptance. You are not alone. May 2017 be your year to sit on the beach, gaining your bearings and planning your future, which always has promise if you look for it.
Be safe. Be well. Move towards happiness and sunlight. If you’re in darkness, wish upon the stars. If you can’t see the stars or the sun, as long as you can imagine them, they will never leave you.