Emotional Weather Report

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Happy Saturday, everyone!

I wanted to write a follow-up post about how I am feeling in the wake of coming out to my parents last Sunday.

And once I ran across the Tom Waits song I used for the title of this post on my iPod, I realized I *had* to write something, just so I can spotlight such a wonderful song. :c)

Bottom line: I am feeling a bit better every day.


As several wise friends suggested it would be, this has been, and still is, a day-to-day proposition. 

A goodly portion of the thanks go to all of you who have been incredibly kind to reach out with your calls and your text messages and your email this past week, asking how I am and what you can do to help. 

To all of you, I say, humbly, thank you. I am uncertain what I have done to be so fortunate... but very grateful. 

I still feel numb, and sad, but it is a bit less each day.

My friend C, who has been exceptionally kind this past week, offered me some excellent, thought-provoking advice.

She said that what I went through, and am going through, is serious business. I am feeling the way I need to feel at this moment. And I need to respect those feelings, and be present with them, so I can process them properly.

She also noted that, as she put it, the "weather" can change quickly for us girls. All I can say is that the further I progress with my transition, the more I realize that is true.

(Incidentally, C is a GG, so it means even more to receive that kind of validation from her. Thank you, sweetie!)

The most important reason I need to process those feelings is so I can fully internalize the truth:

I am free to move forward.

The enormous weight I have been carrying for two-plus years - for a lifetime - is finally, finally gone.

As I was driving home after telling my parents, the following words kept running through my head:

"You did it, Cass."

You did it."

"You're free."

"You're finally, finally free."

I know this intellectually.

I still haven't realized it emotionally.

That isn't surprising; you don't undo a lifetime of keeping a secret in a few days.

Friends who are further ahead in their transitions have assured me that it *will* sink in, when I am ready for it.

And it will be an incredible feeling of liberation.

I know they are right.

I can't wait to experience it, though. :c)

***

I have spoken with my parents several times this week, via text with my mother.

(I am still struggling with the aftereffects of the flu, alas. I have a nasty cough that wakes me up almost every night, and has also rendered my voice into a too-close-for-comfort approximation of Harvey Fierstein. lol

Luckily, I am at the point that I need to keep clearing my sinuses every hour or so, which I hope means this cursed bug will soon be on its merry way.)

She texted me Tuesday evening, as I sat in the waiting room of my electrologist's office.

She asked how I was doing, and I replied that my cold was better.

How are *you* doing, she replied.

I said I was doing OK, and asked how she and my father were.

There was a gap of a minute or so.

Then came the reply.

"Have a good night."

I told M, my electrologist, about it during our session.

She lifted the needle and looked at me.

"It's becoming real for her now, Cass. It's becoming real."

She reached down and squeezed my hand.

"I'm so, so sorry, Cass."

"Just know you conducted yourself with honor and dignity. You did exactly what you said you would do, and stood up for yourself, even when your fears about how they would react came to pass. That took a great deal of strength and courage. You can be proud of yourself, hon."

"I'm proud of you."

We both then noticed there seemed to be some dust floating in the air.

:c)

***

I am quite tired, as you might imagine, but I wanted to end with a photo of a gift I received from R, my friend and co-worker.

I took Monday and Tuesday off from work. Monday was planned in advance; Tuesday was not.

I awoke that morning, still in the grip of my flu *and* my emotional hangover, if you will, from Sunday.

I can usually get out of bed immediately when my alarm goes off.

That morning, I hit Snooze four times, each of which required mustering every bit of energy I had.

Finally, around 7:00 AM, I conceded defeat. Or perhaps more accurately, acquiesced to reality.

I sent email to my manager, L (she is in Houston, one time zone behind the East Coast), asking if I could take a vacation day.

She replied an hour later that of course it was fine, and that she was surprised that I had seriously considered going to work.

"This was probably the hardest thing you've ever done in your life, Cass. You need to give yourself time to let that sink in. And hopefully you can start to learn how to finally let yourself relax."

Have I mentioned what an amazing, amazing boss I have?

(And yes, L, I know you're reading this, and no, I don't care if it embarrasses you! You're in Texas, and you can't fly up to kick my butt every time you get the urge! So there! lol)

I did go to work on Wednesday. I felt a bit out of sorts, but I had several meetings I wanted to attend, and I thought it best to try to establish some sort of routine again.

S was working in our other office, but R was there.

Like S, she had sent me several lovely, heartfelt messages both before and after telling my parents.

She came over as soon as she saw me.

"The only reason I'm not hugging you is because you're sick. Otherwise I'd be squeezing you to death right now!" she told me. :c)

Then I noticed a postcard tucked under my computer keyboard.

On the front was a lovely photo of a floral arrangement.

And on the back was an even lovelier note from R.

I won't divulge its contents, but I was a bit misty-eyed. Again. :c)

She also mentioned she had left me a little something as a present as she headed back to her desk for a conference call. As is so often the case now, I went into full ditz mode the instant R left and totally forgot to look for said present.

(Honestly, the further I transition, the blonder my hair gets, and the more brain cells I seem to lose! Coincidence or not? Discuss among yourselves...)

Finally, at the end of the day, I noticed two small, brightly wrapped packages tucked into my bookshelf.

I reached over and unwrapped the first package.

And this is what I saw:



I'm not sure if you can see the label, but it is nail polish.

But not just any nail polish.

This is teal nail polish - my very favorite color.

R clearly knows what this girl likes! lol

So once again, in lieu of a real hug, R, please accept a virtual (albeit influenza-free) one.

I know one little bottle that has an appointment with some toes with which I am acquainted this weekend...

***

I would like to end by once again expressing my thanks to all of you.

If it weren't for you, and your unstinting love and support, I would not be here today.

For that, I am eternally grateful.

Along with R, please accept a great big virtual hug from yours truly.

I love you all!!

***

And that brings us to the aforementioned Tom Waits song.

I was delighted to find the version of this from a wonderful bootleg I discovered several years ago. Waits played a live show with an in-studio audience at KQRS-FM in Minneapolis MN on December 16th, 1975.

Earlier that year he had released his wonderful Nighthawks at the Diner album, which he also recorded in a studio in front of a live audience.

Just as he does on the album, Waits opens the show with "Emotional Weather Report" - five-plus minutes of twisted spoken word nirvana, all non sequiturs, groaningly bad (but funny) puns, and inspired sound effects.

He never once touches either his piano or guitar.

Nor did he need to.

Hear for yourself:


Makes you wish you could go back in time to be there, doesn't it?

***

I would like to end by dedicating two songs to a dear friend who had a hard, hard week.

As we chatted a bit this week, we discovered that we are both huge fans of R.E.M. (The band, that is. Although I suppose we both like sleep as well, now that I think about it. lol)

During my walk yesterday after work, I was listening to R.E.M.'s 1992 masterpiece, Automatic for the People. I was going through a very difficult time in my life when this was released, and this album is one of the reasons I was able to get through it.

It was the followup to their superb 1991 release Out of Time (the album with "Losing My Religion"). Out of Time was a huge hit, although it was a much quieter, folk-oriented album than listeners expected after 1988's raucous Green album.

As the band entered the studio to work on what became ...People, they said their intention was to record a rock album, having just released a relatively sedate, introspective album in Out of Time.

However, once they began recording, they quickly realized that the songs they had written were, for the most part, very somber and melancholy. And being true artists, they put aside their egos, and their pre-conceived ideas, and simply served the songs.

The result is their best-selling album, and one I can say without equivocation is one of my Desert Island Discs.

The heart of the album (imho) are two songs: "Everybody Hurts" and "Find the River."

"Everybody Hurts" is the penultimate song on Side 1 (yes, this was when albums still *had* sides), and is, quite rightly, one of their most beloved songs.

I can count the number of truly great music videos I have seen on one hand; "Everybody Hurts" is one of them:


I went through a period of deep, deep depression in the months shortly after this album was released in October 1992; this song was one of the few things that made me feel - truly feel. Given how severe that depression was in hindsight (my first therapist told me years later that I was fortunate to have survived without resorting to alcohol or drugs - or worse - to deal with the pain), that is remarkable.

I once read a review that said that "Everybody Hurts" tells the listener hang on; just hang on, and 
"Find the River," the final song on the album, then tells you why.

I've heard several different interpretations of the lyrics, but the one I like best says that as the album ends, this song takes you to the beginning.

The song's narrator is leaving childhood and entering adulthood, with all of the exhilaration and terror that comes with that, as they try to find their way in the big wide world without losing sight of their ideals.

Michael Stipe repeats several variations of the same line several times as the song progresses:

"None of this is going my way."

"Nothing is going my way."

But even when the narrator feels as if it is hopeless, he/she still has that core belief that something better is out there, if they are strong enough and brave enough to continue to believe, even when it seems impossible.

The song uses the river as a metaphor for the truth that lies within each of us - the one we all know, deep down, if we are brave enough to listen. In our case it is obvious what that truth is; but each of us has their own truth.

The song says that if we trust in ourselves, and do the hard, seemingly never-ending work that is required for such a monumental undertaking, then eventually we will find the river - our river.

And that will take us where we want, and need, to be.


Find the River - R.E.M.

Hey now, little speedy head
The read on the speed meter says
You have to go to task in the city
Where people drown and people serve
Don't be shy, your just deserve
Is only just light years to go

Me, my thoughts are flower strewn
Ocean storm, bayberry moon
I have got to leave to find my way
Watch the road and memorize
This life that pass before my eyes
Nothing is going my way

The ocean is the river's goal
A need to leave the water knows
We're closer now than light years to go

I have got to find the river
Bergamot and Vetiver
Run through my head and fall away
Leave the road and memorize
This life that pass before my eyes
Nothing is going my way

There's no one left to take the lead
But I tell you and you can see
We're closer now than light years to go
Pick up here and chase the ride
The river empties to the tide
Fall into the ocean

The river to the ocean goes
A fortune for the undertow
None of this is going my way
There is nothing left to throw
Of Ginger, lemon, indigo,
Coriander stem and rose of hay

Strength and courage overrides
The privileged and weary eyes
Of river poet search naivete
Pick up here and chase the ride
The river empties to the tide
All of this is coming your way


You have many supporters who care about you a great deal, sweetie, and are happy to know that you are taking steps to get better.


And never forget:

You found your river.

And now all of this is coming your way.


Be good to yourself, hon. You deserve no less.

2 comments:

Becca on June 8, 2013 at 8:22 AM said...

Maybe its the way you tell it but I took heart from your mum asking after you.

Its great that you have so many people, near and far, rooting for you. You will do just fine Cass

Cassidy on June 8, 2013 at 9:51 AM said...

Hi Becca!

Thank you, hon. :c) I don't doubt that they are genuinely concerned about me. But I was not surprised that when I asked how they were feeling that she didn't reply.

It's a passive-aggressive way of trying to punish me. It's one-upmanship ("See? I can 'ignore' you too."), an attempt to make me feel guilty, and a subtle shot that nothing I do bothers her/them all that much. Sorry if that sounds harsh; I've been to this rodeo before, however.

Again, I don't doubt they love me, but I have learned quite a bit about myself since I started transitioning. And one of the biggest things is that no one - and I mean *no one* - has the right to tell me how to feel, unless I allow it.

I used to allow it too; I thought I was worthless. Now I know the truth, and can simply choose not to give someone that power. And as a result, now I can refuse to play that game *and* keep the door open for them at the same time, in case they choose to use it later.

Sorry to be so serious, Becca! lol Especially on a Saturday morning. (Quick, Cass, go watch some Itchy & Scratchy episodes on Hulu! lol)

Thank you for the lovely thoughts, Becca. I am so grateful to have you as a friend, sweetie!!!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Hugs and love,
Cass

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