Another morning. Driving at the start of the traffic, busy even before rush hour. Crosseyed at the desk and then back home, cook, a few hours that pass in minutes and back to sleep. The weeks seemed to pass by in a similar way, work days, weekend in a minute and back to work Monday.
I think the only thing that had been keeping me sane was the sharp sunrise that I could see from my desk. Looking across the city with the outline of buildings and structures in sharp black contrast against crayon orange twilight.
My head wasn’t just mentally drained. I was drained from feeling just unwell for months that would make me sleep badly and that would drain me mentally. A circle of fatigue that would push the gender thing right to the back of my priorities. I was just finding it hard to cope with getting through each day and function in a job that, while can become mundane in it’s everyday function, actually means a lot to me. The first job I’ve probably ever had that what I do actually means something. People rely on it and the importance in doing it right is extremely high. Unlike many of my jobs in the past, while I enjoyed some of them to an extent or inspired by their clients, it felt much like what Chandler in Friends once said, “If I don’t input those numbers… doesn’t make much of a difference.”
I still had running but it was down to a minimum. I still had cycling but the weather has been terrible. With much of the gender thing at the lowest point it’s been in so long I questioned whether there was anything left there. Dreading every letter posted through the door might be the next appointment for the Gender Identity Clinic and I had nothing I could have taken them other than lacklustre, indecisiveness and disorientation.
But no letter has turned up. In fact I may have been forgotten; it has happened before. My mind started wandering, wondering after reading another BBC news article announcing the long waiting times at gender clinics throughout the United Kingdom, that they might have decided that my indecision wasn’t worth any further help and that they might have struck me off their books. I shook the stupid, split-second, conspiracy thought from my head. This is, of course, not what was happening. It was more likely that a letter had got lost, I’ve missed my appointment and I’ve been struck off. I shook another silly thought away. It’s just another referral to wait for, a referral that I have very little to take with me.
Since the new year it just all went to the background. The gender thing was actually still there but it was on tick over. Kept alive by a small battery that needed replacing. It wasn’t until I had a little time off that I started to recover; not physically so much, I’m still one hundred percent knackered without enough hours in the day, but things started to wake up.
Seeing things in myself that are female that make me who I am and what I want. Seeing that may be there is still something I can do and may be it’s not all over. The problem is with feeling gender-exhausted comes self doubt and not necessarily doubt that I am who I am, I think that exposes itself as no more than a dent, but doubt that I can actually move forward anymore than I already have; just through the exhaustion of everything.
I’m not sure what triggered the wake up. I was still wearing some of my female clothing running, using my daily female shoulder bag (yes, it’s just a bag), but as these are normal daily things to me I couldn’t feel who I was anymore. I think I was feeling a bit numb. There was a moment today when I removed some old clear nail varnish from my toes. There was a gap where my nails had grown that you could measure in months but it was the removal process, rather than painting my nails, that triggered something.
It was kind of like a light bulb moment where I could suddenly see again. I don’t think it was directly what it was either. It wasn’t the you’re wearing nail varnish thing, to me it was just nail varnish, but it was more, I have something to do to remove it. It was like a sort of daily habit that I suppose men, on the whole, just don’t do that and it reminded me of who I was. Kind of like a feminine habit that was a sole preserve that echoed back who I was, even though technically it’s not necessarily a female preserve.
It could have been anything really that triggered it, may be if I saw I had small feet and that made me feel more like women; I don’t have particularly small feet. Or girly finger nails, or my long hair; I do have long hair – ding! In the weeks before that trigger moment I had taken to straightening my hair to heat-death just to try and bring myself back to normal like an addict trying to find that high again.
It hasn’t just been a gender lack-lustre, it’s been most things. Cooking to eat and not just to enjoy the experience. Enjoying others company but not always feeling quite there because I just need my bed or sofa; whichever I have the energy to reach first. I’ve had more gender dreams in the last few weeks than I think I’ve had in the last five years.
I’m hoping this moment of finding myself again will turn into my desire and confidence that I felt just six months or so ago, because without it I just wonder who I actually am anymore.
Until next time.