Monday, May 20, 2013

Small Steps

Change is hard. It requires a lot more practice than I'd like to think. But that doesn't mean it's impossible.

I had another electrolysis appointment today in Dallas. I've kind of liked going to Dallas; it's given me an excuse to leave Knoxville and, for a person who's so rarely traveled, it's been a good way to practice going out into the world alone.

But it's been expensive. The actual cost isn't a huge problem; one of the (few) benefits of going to the University of Tennessee is that I ended up leaving college with a fair amount more than I entered (I had a full ride and my grandparents/mother let me keep the money they'd been saving for me; plus I worked part time pretty consistently. And I'm fortunate enough to come from a middle class family so I had my mom's insurance and phone plan through college.). But much of the reason I still have the money is that I've felt so guilty spending it.

Transition related costs are pretty justifiable for me; the permanency makes it seem more like an investment. But it's still terribly discouraging to spend so many thousands of dollars and weeks of my life painfully getting facial hair removed that the vast majority of cis women never have to think about. And even if it is an investment, it's still solely spent on *me*.... ugh.

That guilt hit me square in my already beaten face today when the electrolysis tech said "8-10" more treatments. I guess I'd hoped my lazer treatments would mitigate some of the time, and they have in terms of intensity (5hr treatments vs. 16hrs). But 8-10 more is not only really expensive, it's also pretty much impossible for me to do with school (the hair grows in cycle so I'm supposed to return every 7-8 weeks).

Given the five hours of electrified needles and not having eaten today, this left me thoroughly discouraged.

I tried scanning Dallas for a grocery store so I could get some fucking bananas, but the closest I could come was a Wal-Mart which had paltry fare. I bought a bag of animal crackers, drove back to my hotel, and cried.

I felt so thoroughly hopeless and deficient. It was as if the integrity of my existence was fractured; I felt so weak and inadequate in handling the simple tasks of human existence it was as if I was just going to shatter at any moment. Simply because things that should be so easy felt so so hard.

A few hours after sitting in the dark in my hotel room, I set out to get a veggie sub because I would be damned if I didn't eat something that had some remote nutritious value. But I overestimated my ability to memorize the directions and, since I had no smart phone, I ended up going the wrong way.

It confirmed all my horrible suspicions. I'm already settling for fast food instead of something approximating what Real People Eat and I can't even navigate simple areas of Dallas to find it. I end up near a suburb with a lovely trail, but I'm so tired and hungry I can only think about how lost and pathetic I am.

This is the thing about change. I can write strong, emphatic posts about anger and resilience that seems to imply I am determined to do things differently. But fundamentally, part of me still feels as if I'm flawed on an essential level. And even as my brain tells me that this is fatigue, that this is hunger, that this is those fucking electrified needles, that this is isolation and loneliness and fear, that I am more than this, my heart feels familiar fissures forming and I despair.

That's the pattern: get discouraged, succumb to the stultifying embrace of my inadequacy, give up hope.

But for whatever reason, I don't give up. I don't even know why. But I keep going, keep persevering, and somehow I find the damn thing. And, as pathetic as it is, I feel like it's a little victory.

And I realize that my lost detour is actually a blessing. I drive back to the trail and eat my sandwich staring up at the Texas sky, smiling at bicyclists and watching the water fowl of the little cove as the sun sets in tranquility. And when I walk closer to the water, two beautiful White Herons fly out from around the corner and perch upon a tree. So I stand for a few minutes, watching them, and feeling as if I'm uncovering some beautiful part of myself.

If I had written down my directions like a Real Competent Adult, I would have driven to Subway, gotten a sandwich, and driven back to my hotel to eat alone in my small dark room away from the world. Instead, I had an opportunity to make mistakes, prove resilient, and turn those mistakes into joyful little detours.

It wasn't a "fireworks in the sky," "lifechanging epiphany" moment. But it was a moment, however small, where a younger me would have repeated an old, destructive pattern. Instead, I had something new. Something small, something modest, but something different. A small step, but in the right direction nonetheless. It felt like change.

No comments:

Post a Comment