This post will go live on January 1, 2015. As I’m writing this (on December 31, 2014) and reflecting back on the past twelve months, I am a little overwhelmed. On the one hand, 2014 was a year of many personal joys and triumphs – it was my first full year on testosterone, I feel more at home in my body than I ever really have, it’s been a great year at work, I got to be an
Uncle Ommer, I managed to write a blog post every single week for a whole year, and I legally changed my name last month. But it’s been a hard year, too. The chronic back pain I’ve dealt with since middle school is becoming a more persistent problem. It’s become evident that my biological family on the whole has no real intention of affirming (or even acknowledging) the fact that I’m transitioning, even if I give them explicit examples of how they can do this. Many people dear to me have experienced loss of many kinds and wrestled (or are wrestling) with particularly dark periods of depression and anxiety.
From a national standpoint, it’s been a year marked by racist police violence and the murders of young black men at the hands of cops, which has shed much (but, as always, not enough) light on how systemically ingrained racism is in the world, and how determined so many white people are to be oblivious to it. As is sadly the case every year, trans people all over the world suffered unspeakable violence and hatred; just this past week, a young trans woman named Leelah Alcorn took her life because she felt she had no future, because her Christian parents forced her into “reparative” therapy, isolated her, and took away any hope she might have had. We need to do better. I want so desperately to believe that we can.
There’s still much to be learned from 2014, but it’s also definitely time to start moving forward and learning what 2015 will bring. I’m not usually one for resolutions, but there are a handful of things I want to work on this year:
- I want to take better care of my body. I am less concerned with weight loss (I’ve been at a stable weight for a whole year for the first time in my life, and that is more important to me that whatever else that number is or is not), but I’ve had chronic pain issues I’ve been pretty much ignoring for a long time now, and it’s time I dealt with that. Testosterone has reshaped my body into something I actually appreciate, and both for my own sake and the sake of my loved ones (who take such wonderful care of me when I’m in too much pain to effectively take care of myself), I need to start treating it with more respect.
- I want to de-clutter and take better care of my living and working spaces. I have way, way too much stuff. My partner and I have plans to go through everything in our apartment over the next six months or so and discard or donate all of the things we’re not using, don’t need, and just aren’t excited about anymore. It’s an overwhelming prospect, but I think we’ll both be happier for it in the end. (I undertook the process of cleaning off my desk at work last week, and discovered I actually do like having an orderly workspace, despite my tendency toward clutter. I think it was the encouragement I needed to get started.)
- I want to do a better job of taking care of my loved ones. I have always been very good at being there when people reach out for help, but I have a long way to go in remembering to reach out to people who can’t do that for themselves. It’s been my goal each of the past few years to get better at creating safe spaces for the people who walk in and out of my life. I think I’ve succeeded in that, but there’s always room for improvement.
It feels weird to put myself first on that list, but one of the things I’ve had to relearn (and relearn, and relearn) over the past handful of years is that if I’m not taking care of myself, I really can’t take care of anything or anyone else. I’ve gained a more concrete understanding of what that means this year, and particularly related to the goals above: If I don’t take better care of my body, I physically can’t help my partner clean and de-clutter the apartment. I can’t pick things up off the floor right now. It’s a problem. I want to help, so I need to get my body back into reasonably working order. Additionally, when I’m in pain all the time, that decreases the amount of mental energy I have to take care of other people. Bipolar cycles can greatly affect how much space I have in my head and heart for other people’s problems, no matter how well I manage that, so I need to be extra certain that I’m regulating how much energy my body is taking away from that store, too.
2014 was a big year, but I’m ready to part ways with it. Here’s to a brighter 2015!