Musings on Montreal, Pt. 1: The Way I Feel

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Hello all. Hope everyone had a good week.

After what felt like an eternity of endless heat & humidity, both here and in Montreal, it finally feels like something approximating autumn. This being New England, of course, that meant receiving three inches of rain in barely 36 hours earlier this week, with an even more powerful storm headed our way tomorrow evening into Monday. Oh well, we badly need the rain. And at least the humidity is finally gone. I'll take that trade. :c)

My nephew C is doing a bit better every day. He's still quite weak, and doesn't have much of an appetite, but he's still slowly improving. Thank you again to those of you checking in on him.

If you've read my most recent posts, you know I've been planing to write about my experience having my surgery with Dr. Brassard in Montreal last month. Amazingly, it was over five weeks ago already; it seems as if it was simultaneously yesterday and a million years ago.

Confession time: I've started this post several times now, only to feel dissatisfied and abandon what I'd written.

I finally realized why: trying to summarize the most important thing I've ever done in my life in a single post is daunting.

So, I won't. :c)

Instead, I think I'll just share my thoughts in more than one post.

How many posts, you ask?

I'm not sure, to be honest. But please feel free to tag along, and we can find out together. For now, follow along below the jump. I'll see you on the other side (as we told each other as our turn came for surgery up in Montreal). :-p

As Halle mentions in her lovely post (which is a must-read, if you haven't already), we had our procedures two weeks apart - first Halle, then your humble blogstress. Reading that post, and her subsequent one, will help give a fuller perspective on what it's like there.

For this first post, I thought I'd write about the question I've been asked most often since having my surgery:

Am I happy?

The short answer: yes. :c)

Very much so.

Not surprisingly, though, it's more complex than that.

I've been struggling for the right words to describe how I feel.

Two in particular came to mind first:


And "proud."

If you've read this blog from the beginning, you've read about some of the challenges I've faced during the six years of my transition. There have been others that I've chosen not to write about for a variety of reasons. More than some, and fewer than others.

One reason I wrote so little in the months leading up to my surgery was because of the challenges I was facing. Without going into detail, things went right down to the wire (again), as they seem to do so often, for reasons beyond my control (again). I'm indebted to my dear friends Alice and Halle, as well as my sister and nephew, and others, for their unstinting support during this time in particular.

I've learned that I'm stronger than I ever imagined.

And that I'm incredibly determined.

I never took the easy way out.

I never took shortcuts.

In short, I never cheated, even when it would have been easy to do so.

I knew that all I would be doing was cheating myself.

When I started my transition, I remember telling my therapist, M, in my very first session with her, that I made two promises to myself (which I can't remember if I read somewhere else, or if I came up with them on my own)

I would no longer allow fear to rule my life.

I would no longer limit myself in any way.

I'm proud to say that I obeyed those rules. There were times when doing so was a considerable challenge, particularly as I discovered who I truly was, and what I truly wanted.

In the end, it came down to believing that I was worth all of the hard work and pain and heartache.

It didn't happen overnight.

Most things worth doing don't.

I'm so glad now that I did the hard, hard work of discovering exactly who I am, and realizing that I genuinely like myself, flaws and all.

I know I'm not perfect.

But that's OK.

I don't have to be.

I genuinely like who I see in the mirror now.

And I'm so, so excited to continue my journey.

My dear friend F, who's known me since I was in 4th grade, was over last night.

I was telling him about this post, and trying to find the words to sum up how I feel right now. And, as he so often does, F was able to sum up what I was trying to articulate.

"It's interesting; people talk about feeling happy," he said. "But I think what's more important than feeling happy is feeling centered."

"You can feel very happy - but you aren't centered. Same thing with feeling sad, or being upset about something; you're not centered."

"When I talk with you now," he said, "The word I'd use is 'calm.'"

"Because I'm centered," I said.

He smiled. "Exactly. Now you're finally aligned correctly. And that means you can keep things in perspective. You know you're going to be OK. Because you know who you are."

"And that's what I see when I look at you now - someone who knows exactly who she is. And knows that that's all she needs."

F, as he so often does, got it right.

I know who I am.

I know what I want.

I know where I'm going.

And I know I'm going to get there.

Just watch. :c)


Not a bad start, if I do say so myself. I think the next post - probably several of them - are going to be about the actual experience of being in Montreal. There's so much that happened, I'm not sure where to start...  but I trust it will fall into place once I start.

Watch this space! :c)


A few songs came to mind as I was writing this just now, mostly because of their titles. Since I made everyone wait so long, I'll include a bunch of them for your listening pleasure as you read this. :c)

First up, in honor of this post's Canadian content, is a track from the great Gordon Lightfoot. I was going to include "The Way I Feel," but I couldn't find a version that sounded good. So I substituted one of my favorites: "Early Morning Rain," in a live version from 1969. I'm always happy when I can include a song from one of my favorite songwriters; :c)

Next up is a funny one - "Are You Happy Now?" from Richard Shindell, someone I don't feature nearly enough here. This is from his debut album, 1992's Sparrows Point.

And last but not least, "Happy," courtesy of the Stones, with Mr. Keef on lead vocals, from 1972's legendary Exile on Main Street album. Love this live version!

See you next time, everyone. :c)


Stace on October 30, 2017 at 2:59 AM said...

Looking forward to the journey!

Liking the person in the mirror is a huge step! For me it was linked to recognising the person in the mirror as well. For years I knew it was me - but there was no connection.

When suddenly there was a connection there it was supremely freaky, but at the same time totally amazing!


PS Great to hear that C is continuing his journey of recovery!

Halle on October 30, 2017 at 12:46 PM said...

You have explained it so well. The word to sum it up is definitely centred, and no it doesn't happen without work and time.

Thanks for the shout-out Hon.

Cassidy on November 4, 2017 at 6:04 PM said...

@ Halle: Thank you very much, hon! And thank *you* for the shout-out in *your* post! :c)

@ Stace: I still remember the moment I *truly* saw *me* in the mirror for the first time; "freaky" and "amazing" describes it very well! As Halle mentioned in her comment, that was one of the key moments when all of the hard work paid off. :D

Thank you again for keeping my nephew in your thoughts. He's improving a bit more each day. :c)


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