Thursday, 25 June 2015

Ball of Confusion

 Spending a lot of time reflecting these days, I've realized many things. It's been a mixed journey this past year, coming of age (yet again) in a darkening, chaotic world. My story is one thing, but the world I've reentered feels foreboding and not without good reason.

Images from the second half of last year, Ferguson, Cleveland, New York still haunt me. Senseless violence and murder from the unaccountable, flames, riot police and military gear under a season's greetings sign during the holiday season, marches in the snow and cold. Add to these this year's horrors, Baltimore, McKinney and Charleston. The rage and fear I felt, and still feel, is hard to articulate, but consuming nonetheless. I fear the quiet of night time, something that used to comfort me. I live in a tolerant, diverse neighbourhood, but it only takes one hateful individual to cause grave harm, even in Canada. Being black, being trans, being out: any or all could be used as reasons by a bigot on a rampage.

And there's more than that. The free spaciousness of our society is diminishing rapidly. Corporate culture is everywhere and feels like a noose tightening around our necks, inflicting both micro and macro aggressions, unleashing its malcontents in the form of gangs, racists, and "lone wolves" to scapegoat and attack at will. Maybe not today ...

Once, long ago as a bullied pre-teen, I suffered from what I now know was PTSD: nightmares and night terrors, stomach pains and vomiting, chest pains and coughing, anxiety. Growing past this, gaining independence, growing intellectually and creatively through college and university, moving out west (twenty years ago) gave me confidence. Coming out a few times since then, even more so. I had always felt that the world was moving forward as I was. But I wake up feeling that fear in the pit of my stomach that bullies past have returned with a vengeance on the world stage. I walk through the world, with autonomy, with agency, but for how long.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Them Changes

 One thing that has come up for me during this past week and a half, since Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover went public, has been the importance of all of us transfolks telling our stories and challenging the narrative. There are many ways to do this, but now of course, I'm focussed on post-op recovery. The mainstream media have been focused on our transformations, sensationalizing them in the process. Someone walks into a clinic and voila they come out all brand new and shiny. None of this goes into the roller coaster ride that is recovery from SRS ... and it is a roller coaster ride, physically, emotionally, psychologically. Becoming "new and shiny" can take up to a year although much of the recovery happens in the first three to four months.

I have found a few people expecting me to be kicking my heals in delight at having finally had the surgery and being shocked by the fact that I've had ups and downs. Luckily, I've had no serious complications, only minor (although painful) ones. Below is my Facebook status from earlier today:

"Life Update: I'm currently in my latter stages of post-op recovery. My experience is one of decreasing, but still obvious, discomfort (and some pain sensations from healing and having a minor complication treated on a weekly basis). Also a lot of fatigue, my energy seems fine (during a stretch of gorgeous weather no less) then it drops out suddenly, making me tired enough to go to bed. My aftercare is still very time consuming, meaning I still spend most of waking hours at home. This, in turn, makes me quite melancholy, hence more fatigued. I also find myself looking back on four and a half years of transition, missing looking forward to the next milestone and the joy and exhilaration it gave me.

I miss looking forward to everything, especially earlier this year. I have no regrets, at all. But I really feel the physical and emotional drain of recovery; and watching my cat Tatum get sick and begin to recover has made me realize how fragile health can be. I've whispered at him that I love him many times over the past few weeks, I hope he understands. 

And now, I want to extend my virtual arms out over FB to embrace all of you and tell you that I love you all, family and friends alike, very much! Thank you so much for your words, visits, gifts, meals and all kinds of support and assistance! It's meant a lot to me.

Now, together, let's create new things to look forward to in our interconnected lives! Onwards and upwards!"

That's right I've been having challenges, but also, I have no regrets. I'm having a human experience, and it's more of our human experiences as transpeople that need to get out there: the good ones, the bad ones and the dull ones. Let's keep telling them all!