Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sitting with Uncertainty

Part of the difficulty in being single is the feeling that you can't quite count on it changing. There's a degree of serendipity involved in meeting a good match that, no matter how much your partnered friends may protest (and it's always, only your partnered friends), belies the reassuring reaffirmations of one's self-worth.

I focus a lot on that uncertainty. It's not unlike being sick, sometimes. You hope you'll get better. You think you probably will. But, right now, it hurts so much. You curse yourself for not fully appreciating how good you had it when you weren't sick. And you worry that it will keep going on, debilitating you for who knows how long with pain, suffering, and energy depletion.

Most people get better, depending on the illness, and professionals can often give us reasonable ideas of what to expect and how to treat it. So too, I can, intellectually, tell you that I've been in some form of relationship for three of the past four years. Although the relationships I had generally lacked maturity, substantive support, and very in frequent physical contact, I've also had a host of my own issues to sort through.

Aside from the major depression, I really can't compare myself to straight cis people. Hell, I shouldn't even compare myself to some of the younger trans people I know. Partially because we all move at different paces. But partially because if I had known anyone like me, like they do, I might have transitioned and been much happier much sooner too. I've been what I consider "real" and "alive" for about four months, and my relationships to this point largely reflect that.

However, just as I can tell myself these things logically, until I'm actually "better" they're just guesses. Educated guesses. But guesses.

Uncertainty pervades so many crevices of our lives. Does she *really* love me? Does what I'm doing *really* matter? Will I ever find a calling in my life that will fulfill me? I've heard before that men aren't as close to their children because they can never be 100% sure that the child is theirs, unlike the mother. I, of course, think that's ridiculous. But when my father tearfully confessed that he sincerely doubted whether I was his biological child (which, apparently, was the difference between him feeling a responsibility to care for me or not), even that uncertainty became rather pointed.

And, for many of us, it's the uncertainty that's the worst part of what ails us. For instance, if you told me I'd have a positive, fulfilling, sustainable relationship tomorrow, would I feel so bad about not having one now? What about in one month? Six months? A year? Two? Because while being single is certainly not optimal (for me), I can definitely say knowing it would end in a day, a month, six months, and probably a year would relieve a great deal of my concern.

Ideally, I think, this would be a good way to live: assume that it will come when it comes and not stress over it. Of course, that's much easier to do when you're straight and cis than gay and trans. And, arguably, worrying allows me to reassess and continually push myself towards a better outcome. But in many ways those are cop outs. If my suffering is not the pain of the present but the fear of forever, that's a fundamentally different question than I've been asking. And, arguably, it's the one I should be answering.

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