"A little Learning is a dang'rous Thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring:
There shallow Draughts intoxicate the Brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Fir'd at first Sight with what the Muse imparts,
In fearless Youth we tempt the Heights of Arts,
While from the bounded Level of our Mind,
Short Views we take, nor see the lengths behind,
But more advanc'd, behold with strange Surprize
New, distant Scenes of endless Science rise!
So pleas'd at first, the towring Alps we try,
Mount o'er the Vales, and seem to tread the Sky;
Th' Eternal Snows appear already past,
And the first Clouds and Mountains seem the last:
But those attain'd, we tremble to survey
The growing Labours of the lengthen'd Way,
Th' increasing Prospect tires our wandering Eyes,Hills peep o'er Hills, and Alps on Alps arise!"
- from Alexander Pope's "Essay On Criticism", 1711
I was first introduced to that three hundred year-old quote during my first year as an undergraduate over twenty years ago. It is about not taking on too much in academic studies, and that what looks easy may in fact be much more difficult once you start down the path of your chosen pursuits.
New Year's Day and coming down to earth, gently but firmly, go hand-in-hand. So, time for a progress report. Last year in New Year's Resolution post, I listed the following goals:
1. Find a comfortable voise pitch/level and then work on making it my regular voice.
2. Come out to my family.
3. Continue with HRT and hair removal.
4. Apply to Vital Statistics for my name change.
5. Find a new psychiatrist/clinical psychologist.
6. Buy hair styling appliances (dryer with diffuser, flat iron, styling iron).
7. Buy woman's winter coat and rain coat.
8. Buy new purses and a laptop carrier.
9. Present myself as a woman at work (prepare for this).
1. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night; get up early enough in the morning.
2. Take the nonfiction book writing course at UBC.
3. Continue to research/write my two books.
4. Close my radio program Facebook group and start a blog for it instead.
Well, I'm looking forward to seeing where I will be with these a year from today."
And today, a year later, this is where I stand.
Some goals may seem easier, or at least more straight forward, when listing them on a page, but when it comes time to do them, they turn out to be much more challenging.
I have worked on my voice for much of the past twelve months, but began to slack off in the latter part of last year. And I reaped the result: the early part of last year my voice seemed to change in leaps and bounds, I could hear the difference when listening back to my radio program. Friends, and some co-workers claimed that they could hear a change and it encouraged me. But, by late summer, largely due to scheduling issues, I began having some difficulty booking sessions with my trainer. I had an appointment in October and then, again, in December. But, mostly, I had stopped practicing for a time. My progress slowed down. In fact, thought I was regressing. Then, at my December session, we played the archived digital samples of my voice from my first session from October 2011, one from mid-2012 and from that day's session. Turns out, my voice has changed ... significantly! Much softer, more "typically feminine" inflections; my first ever session sample sounded like someone else entirely: some guy.
Ahem, yes, well, as last spring made clear, I was not ready to come out to my immediate family after all. It just took a full week back in Montreal to realize it. At times, I was so close to breaking the ice, at others, a chasm away. In the end, I went my way and they went theirs, without a word about it.
HRT and Hair Removal
Now, here is a goal that played out in very straight forward fashion. After having my dosages modified in late 2011, I stayed the hormone course throughout the year. There was some concern with my potassium levels right after I came back from Montreal, but they resolved themselves. Currently I am on the same dosages as I was a year ago, but I will be, as of today, replacing my Spironolactone with Cyproterone for three weeks to see how that works. I will need to do a blood test for my doctor towards the end of that time. Fingers crossed that all goes well.
My hair removal reached a tipping point just after I got back from back east. Suddenly, I could have large areas treated in one two-hour electrolysis session. By the fall, I could have all the hair left on my face (not much, but of the tedious variety) removed with two hours. My appointments went from being weekly to being every three to four weeks. More of my hairs were white and stunted. I am at the light at the end of this tunnel.
Three words: workin' on it.
If my memory serves me correctly, this goal was about trying to find one with whom to do an assessment for SRS. Well, just from how I worded that last sentence, it is obvious that SRS is not a clear goal for me, yet.
Bought the dryer, still need a diffuser. Bought a flat iron, still need a styling iron. Also got a round comb and some hair product to prevent frizzing. Most of these are professional brands, bought wholesale.
Rain coat, two winter coats (on sale last February for half price), sweaters, boots (one pair given, two others on sale for thirty dollars each at a small store closing out sale in my neighbourhood), various other clothes, all done! I need to get some more clothes for work, and any guy and early transition clothes need to be gotten rid of.
The good kind. One free purse in great condition which goes with anything I am wearing. Bought some other carrying cases for a laptop and for books, folders, etc. this past summer: all with the sense that I was finally getting my s*#t together.
Present As Myself
This just in ... I will be taking the last part of the month off and returning to work in early February as (drumroll, cymbal) me! More in future posts.
Sleep continues to be an issue. Old habits die hard. But, it is a new year, and I will use my break at the end of the month to begin to recalibrate my sleep patterns. I took the nonfiction book writing course from early February to late March; it went very well and, currently, my writing are many and diverse, including the two books that I was working on last year, writing book reviews for BC Studies, a UBC-based academic journal and writing for a new trans-themed sitcom called The Switch (more on that in later posts). Lastly, I have both kept my radio show's Facebook group and launched a blog for it. And may the best social media presence win.
So, there is my progress report. The secret is to not take on too much and to set goals that are doable, winnable and realistic. For 2013, my new goals are:
1. Apply for name change certificate
2. Transition fully at work
3. Work on getting to bed earlier and getting up earlier
4. Get my finances in order
5. Continue with my various writing projects
6. Get my living quarters tidied up and organized (more closet organizers for clothes and accessories and properly store my music collection)
7. Invite more people into my home, welcome them into my life, show them how much I love them.
And I approach these goals fully knowing that more goals will appear as start down this year's path of chosen pursuits.