I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I have a mental list of stuff I ought to do that I didn’t get around to doing in 2015. Some items are holdovers from 2014, perpetually on the verge of almost being attended to.
I had great hopes for 2015, but it was a hard year. I’m glad it is over. I’m not going to sugar coat it. Donna’s open heart surgery, hospitalization, and recovery took a lot out of me. I was discouraged (and furious) on Labor Day weekend, when she missed a step, fell, and broke her ankle. She ended up in the hospital again, and then in rehab. She came home in a wheelchair, and slowly progressed to using a walker, and last week to using a cane. I love her, but I don’t love being her caretaker. We got on each other’s nerves. We adjusted. We are getting back to normal.
We didn’t go to Italy (we cancelled the trip after Donna’s fall). I didn’t make time for ice skating. I never finished cleaning out my room (I did clear out a closet, a dresser, and take 6 quarts of coins ($712) to the bank). I let the mail pile up out of control again. I let my legal and financial paperwork fester. I didn’t call my brother.
I did go for my top surgery revision, see a doctor for a physical, get a colonoscopy, maintain my weight, and go to the gym irregularly enough to not lose ground. I swam in the ocean in board shorts and a rash guard. I didn’t go to hell in a handbasket. I’m in a satisfactory place to start 2016.
My wish for 2016 is to not set foot in an emergency room, hospital, or nursing home. I wish for Donna to feel strong enough to travel. I wish for a lower voice and for all men’s shoes to come in a size 7 (EU 40). I wish for a cloak of invisibility every time I walk into a bathroom, locker room, or dressing room. I wish for Gracie to stop barking as soon as I tell her to hush, not when she finishes the chorus.
I want to reschedule the trip to Italy. I want to go ice skating in Central Park. I want to work with a dog trainer to get a handle on some of Gracie’s bad habits (she is impatient and petulant, insists of being the center of attention, and uses selective listening).
I want to stop judging other people’s transitions – I don’t want to rank “passing” and medical transition at the top and everything else below it. I want to be respectful of all authentic manifestations of gender (regardless of how close they are to mine). I don’t want to question anyone else’s transness or butchness. I want to keep an open mind about Testosterone but I don’t want to start it just because it is on someone else’s bucket list.
I need to clean up my room and throw stuff out or give it away (excess books, CDs, dust bunnies, old electronics, and junk stored under the bed and in desk drawers/file cabinet). I need to go through the bags and piles of mail and keep only what I need for my taxes and insurance. I need to see a cardiologist. I need to evaluate how much I spent this year. I need to take care of the loose ends of my name change.
Aside from the wishes, which are not within my control, nothing seems impossible. Other than training Gracie, nothing even seems challenging, except interrupting my inertia and starting one task before I get distracted by something else.
Notes: Ivan E. Coyote’s video “We all need a safe place to pee” speaks to my wish (and the wishes of many butch, transgender, and/or gender non-conforming people). I hope Ivan performs in NYC in 2016.
Tim Kreider’s essay “The Summer That Never Was” is an eloquent summary of why he never went to Iceland.