In my need for stimulation at the end of a week of plain flat-lining mind numbing lacklustre my call was answered with a one off come back of TFI Friday. It was like my flash back memories of my twenties were answered. A night of reminiscing fuelled by a little alcohol taking me away from the pain of my lack of a clear vision of my future other than the quiet day-in day-out passing me by. Come the end of the show I was soon finding a copy of This Life and tucking into it’s saturated form of angst and ambition of this new version of the sixties decade.
I didn’t like This Life when I watched the first episode with it’s, then, new swishy intimate camera movements throwing the viewer around the room as if they’d smashed you around the head with a bottle of Vodka after drinking it’s contents. But once I was used to it’s format I was immediately taken by it’s poetry, it’s whining teenage angst in the form of twenty something lawyer wannabes; even it’s cheesy dramatisation, fucking in the toilets and snorting cocaine. When being gay was still a difficult subject and with Oasis playing in the background in some kitchen scene it was as if the writer knew how to construct the show so that it would fore fill every possible nostalgic ingredient some fifteen plus years later that would make me forget the bad days and only use a pair of perfectly formed rose tinted glasses. If it were made today it would be transgendered instead of gay, new media instead of lawyers and they wouldn’t be living in Southwark because no one in their twenties could afford to sustain living in London for more than a few weeks.
The stark contrast, by the time I’d finished watching it, between now and then, was more apparent than ever. I couldn’t bare to watch another episode on that Friday evening. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it but the nostalgia for the show brought up memories of those late carefree nineteen nineties when I too was just getting started in a career, had the whole of my life in front of me and my gender identity issues were firmly, safely and happily tucked away where only I had access to them and there was little pressure to do sod all about it.
I always wanted to do something about the gender thing. I mean I even wished I’d done something about it when I was eighteen back then and I even wish now I’d done something about it when I was eighteen. Finally in my late thirties I’d done something about it and started the ball rolling, for want of a better phrase, and where am I now? Sat in my dining room in the quiet of a failed June summer alone, reminiscing and wasting life waiting and thinking what-if, and realising that without the energy I had back then how on earth am I going to cope; and that’s if anything ever does happen. For someone of my age and starting to realise that I do at least have one thing still in place and that’s those twenty-something’s angst that they have in This Life and what I had back then. Unrealised angst still clinging on.
Last month I phoned the hospital to find out what the status of my case was; after all – Dr Neil did say at my last session, “It’s been nearly a year hasn’t it?” referring to how long it had been since he’d referred my case to his head of department, Dr Winston to rubber stamp it for a decision for funding my referral to a gender clinic. When I phoned he was on leave but I was assured a message would get to him and that message was asking to chase it up. I’ve heard nothing and I’ve not got my next appointment until July. I’m running out of energy. I’m getting to that point where I’m wondering where things are going. Another year passes that I sit here in pain of the mind that has slowly crept back and ending up thinking more than ever and reminiscing about lost opportunities.
I sometimes wonder if the anxiety caused through the slow wait and silence is more pain than just doing without. At least I know if I do nothing about my gender issue that the net result will be nothing; as painful as that might be. I could of course go private and force the issue forward. Carefully line the soft leather wallet with gold entwined thread of a psychiatrist one hundred and fifty pounds every forty five minutes. They could then rubber stamp something in no time and then I would be well on my way. On my way to what though.
I realise sometimes that my problems aren’t just the gender thing. They are also the things around it. My friends. The ones who have got married and – eugh, settled. Those who have emigrated abroad and only stay in contact through forced photo viewing through Facebook of smiling faces amongst azure blue seas and cold half lagers dripping condensation onto the table in a cafe in Marbella or those who tour the world on their successes. So many things that I thought that I wanted and probably still want out of life but slowly running out of energy to even get started. Sometimes I think how those who did appear to get what they want in life are the ones who shrugged off the friends of theirs who had negativity and leaving them behind. I almost feel like I’m still twenty-five with the same ambitions but my battery is just about out of charge and there isn’t much point in replacing it because it’s obsolete.
I do know when I am in this state of mind, this lowness that is sometimes hard to shake, that it’s hard to see where I will go next to find some kind of contentment. I also know that when I’m not in that place that sometimes I see a path that I can take that will get me where I want to be. Sometimes it’s just a case of making sure that those people who like to erect a wall on that path telling me I shouldn’t go there, it’s risky, it’s dangerous, you don’t have the money, most people fail, to just shut the hell up. With people like that I do sometimes wonder how anyone gets anywhere.