Struggle

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I'm feeling worn out at the moment.

I haven't been sleeping well for several weeks, and it's finally caught up with me the past week or so.

It isn't anything I haven't dealt with before, nor is it something that is going to stop me.

But it's still been a difficult few weeks.

I tend to focus on the more humorous and light-hearted, as so many transitioning blogs can be, well, kind of a downer. :c) But it's important to also write when I'm feeling a bit blue myself.

I know there are a few people who read this blog, and maybe someone in the future will find something that is useful to them. And that's part of the reason why I write. The most important, and somewhat selfish, reason, is a) so I can figure out how I feel about certain things, as writing seems to be how I do that; and b) to help me remember how I was feeling during my transition.

So, with that said, time to dig in.


There are several reasons why I'm feeling a bit out of sorts.

First, much of it is, unfortunately, work-related. Still.

I have a long commute - at least two hours minimum every day, and it's often much longer. (It took me over three hours to get home one evening last week.)

For various reasons I've been out almost every single night the past two weeks and have been up very early on the weekends.

I haven't been able to exercise as much as I like/need to for months, mostly because of the commute and the lengthy recovery from my broken ribs. Since that's how I work off the stress and unwind, it's a vicious cycle. I need to exercise to help me unwind from my job, and the endless commute is the reason I have almost no time to unwind.

The job is still pretty stressful - OK, *really* stressful. I genuinely like my manager, and believe she was completely sincere when she promised things would be different once I returned from my sick leave. Nonetheless, I was, well, skeptical.

My co-worker, S, asked me what I thought would happen. I told her I've been to this dance before, and I had a hunch how it would go.

I told her a) I would be kept on this project; b) I would be permanently based in this office, ensuring a long, tiring commute; c) I would be forced to work directly with precisely the people who caused the problems to begin with; and d) S would be taken off the project.

S is very young, very sweet, and genuniely kind-hearted. (She reminds me so much of my friend R that it is uncanny.) She reacted just the way I would expect.

"Oh, L, that would be dreadful!" she said. "You'd be completely alone!"

"Which is precisely why that's what will happen," I replied.

She thought I was being unduly pessimistic, but I'm not. And I'm not trying to be self-pitying. I've simply been in this position multiple times, and it's the same each time. It didn't beat me then, and it won't beat me now.

I simply won't let it, first of all. I have more than my share of faults and bad habits, but one thing I do know how to do is to grind out each day when I'm feeling less than 100%. I guess we've all learned to do that; it's how we cope with our situation, even when it seems hopeless.

I've come too far, worked too hard, and invested far too much time and energy into my transition to let a crappy job, lousy commute, and co-workers I genuinely despise (which takes a lot of doing, as I can get along with almost anyone) derail me. Quite simply, I'm better than this job, and these people. Not only don't I deserve them; they don't deserve me.

And that's the biggest difference between pre-transiton me and the genuine me.

He felt situations like this were his fault, and that he deserved to be treated like garbage.

I don't.

I know I'm a better person than these people who seem to take a perverse pride in being as rude, condescending, and unprofessional as possible (with no justification, based on their work performance, imho).

I know I deserve better than this job and this lousy commute that make my transition needlessly difficult.

And I'm damn well going to do everything in my power to be treated the way I deserve.

***

In addition to work, and much more important, of course, is my transition.

I'm simply fighting through one of those periodic blue moods that tend to occur from time to time.

I have several friends who are much further along with their transition than I am - they are full-time, for varying lengths of time.

While their lives are by no means perfect and stress-free, they are nonetheless where I desperately want to be. They are living as themselves, quite happily for the most part. In some cases, they are in serious relationships, or are in the early stages of a relationship. I'm nowhere close to either living full-time or having even the possibility of a relationship (the odds of which I am quite skeptical about in the best of circumstances).

It almost physically hurts to be out and about and to observe women simply living their day-to-day lives, and to know I can't. Not yet, and likely not for a long, long time.

I discussed this with my therapist, M, last weekend. She was, as always, both realistic and reassuring - no mean trick, that. She told me that while she obviously can't put a specific date on when I might reach a similar point to my friends, I was closer than I suspected.

"Transitioning is mostly an emotional, mental process," she said. "The physical aspect is crucial, of course, and is extremely hard and time-consuming. But the mental aspect is the most grueling.

"And right from the start you've been willing to work on that, and to do the hardest work, no matter how painful.

"Think of your transition as a journey. You've been pushing a huge boulder up an incredibly steep hill, struggling with all your might, and investing every bit of yourself into it, even when it seemed impossible, and that you were making no progress at all.

"But you stuck with it. And now you're getting very close to the tipping point, when all of that hard work will start to pay off. There will still be struggles, and setbacks, and they'll still hurt. A lot.

"But I assure you, you're about to start reaping the rewards for all of this hard work. Very soon. You're a year into your HRT, your electrolysis is going very well, and you're finally able to work on your voice, and makeup, and figuring out your look. And you'll learn it all. It's hard, hard work, but you're not afraid of that.

"You're going to start to see even more physical changes. You've already changed a great deal physically, even if you can't see what I do, and your friends do.

"So just try to keep that image of the approaching summit in mind, and try to remember how far you've come. And be proud of that."

My friends have been unstintingly positive and encouraging from the very beginning, and have been exceedingly kind in their assessment of my chances of passing. (Well, almost everyone, anyway. lol) I've come a long way in learning how to accept compliments, and not try to deflect them with a quip or sarcasm. And I'm making progress in letting people get closer and know what I'm really feeling.

Of course, I'm still learning how to let myself know what I'm really feeling; indeed, to let myself simply feel. I mentioned to M that I still have a hard time crying. It frustrates me, as I want to cry more. I feel as if "he" is still fighting for control in some respects, and this is the primary battleground.

Again, she was reassuring, and said that will come with time. As she noted, I spent an entire lifetime suppressing my feelings as if it were a matter of life and death. That isn't a mindset you shake overnight, or even in a year and a half.

It will take patience, and a willingness to be open, and vulnerable, and trusting - both myself and others.

It's all part of the process.

And part of the struggle.

A struggle I'll win.

I have no doubt.

***

OK, I'm adding this shortly after I posted this, as I just realized I *can* end on a humorous note after all!

I went out to lunch on Friday with S and our co-worker R. She is also a new hire, and, while her personality is completely different than S's, she is equally endearing - and very, very funny - in her own right.

We took R's car, and I volunteered to sit in the back so she and S could sit up front together. R was describing a recent car accident her roommate got into while R was in the car, and R's subsequent difficulty climbing into the tow truck. R is fairly short, and, as anyone who has ever tried to climb into a tow truck can attest, it is a challenge if you don't have long legs.

(As an aside, my mother is also um, vertically challenged, as the saying goes. ;c) She accompanied me when I went to pick out a new couch. After testing out several, she sat down on the sofa I wound up purchasing and immediately said, "Get this one."

After it arrived, I asked in passing what she liked about it: the color, the fabric, how it would blend with the decor, and so on. Her immediate reply: "My feet could touch the ground." :c))

R and S got into an animated discussion about the best wardrobe to wear when you're in a car accident. I was, as I mentioned, a bit woozy, so I was only half listening to their quite detailed discussion on the merits of a sports bra as part of a post-crash outfit.

Suddenly R stopped talking and glanced at me in the rearview mirror.

"You're being awfully quiet back there, L," she said. "You must be hanging on every word, huh?"

"You have no idea," I replied. :c)

***

Here's good ol' Keef, tearing it up with his solo band the X-Pensive Winos, back in 1988:

video

Would that the Stones post-Tattoo You albums rocked remotely as hard as this, eh?

And speaking of smokin' guitar work, here's a great song Nils Lofgren wrote about Mr. Richards back in the mid-70s:


Nils doesn't get anywhere near his due as a guitarist or songwriter, imho....

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