A trail of small sharp white lights were draped in the window sill of the living room, a small lamp at the other end uplighting the wall and warmly lighting the rest of the room and a small single candle near the television. A film and the curtains still open watching what little life there was passing in the street as dusk faded.
It felt like the first time in several months I’d been able to sit down and relax and do something slow. Weeks had turned to months, exhausted from the Covid-related work that continues on only able to do something energetic like exploring the hills and valley or cleaning the bathroom, and spending the rest of the weekend and evenings recovering for the next days work.
I didn’t seem to be able to recreate that Saturday evening of my thirties. I had dug out a meal I’d not made for a very long time. I don’t mean from the back of the freezer. It was the food processor, chicken with olives, bread, thymes, oregano, pine nuts and some aged cured pork and a sink full of washing up spilling over to the hob and worktop ready for regret in the morning. To finish a chocolate sponge pudding with sauce to match that meant the oven had barely had time to cool before it was baking that dessert.
There was something that felt rushed and matter-of-fact about my evening. Formulaic. I don’t want to live in the past but at the same time I wanted to feel that feeling of comfort and enjoyment. It wasn’t until I paused the film and got up out of the arm chair to refill my tall wine glass of not-wine that the pungent smell of the scented candle flicking by the fake fire place that kind of kicked in that memory. It was the kind of recipe of a night in at my old house where I’d enjoy a film after going to some effort to cook something nice, bake and then drink to music until the early hours.
In fact it wasn’t really as similar as I first thought. I was in better surroundings. I have more furniture and more music. Better decor and a bookcase full of music score. Emotional, slightly delayed teen angst, turmoil had been replaced by a mature more adult way of dealing with things and the chances of me staying up until two or three in the morning listening to Jazz or Classical just to explore those feelings were unlikely unless I wanted to feel even more exhausted through Sunday which would inevitably lead into the working week. With a job that requires thinking and Agetrying it’s hardest to make thinking really really difficult, I need all the help I can get, and that means sleep.
But all this revisiting the nights of ten or fifteen years ago doesn’t really help with trying to catch up with my feelings on the gender thing. It’s been months since the gender clinic in London had brushed my patient file under my own carpet. They never replied to my e-mail. After feeling rather dumped I felt exhausted. A journey that started in my late thirties with professional help and I’ve been left at square one, just with a lot more knowledge and self-discovery, but essentially no outcome. A degree without a certificate.
I certainly, at the very least, came out of it with a lot more self confidence about my femininity and expression to an extent I probably never thought I’d get to. It has allowed me to get on with other parts of my life and slowly recover. I’d got in touch with my emotions long before the psychiatry and psychology sessions but they allowed me to put it together in such a way that it wouldn’t bring me down, to balance out highs and lows so I wasn’t on that rollercoaster anymore.
So where do I go now though. May be London discharging me wasn’t such a bad thing after all? I was thinking about this. At the time it seemed fine because she was discharging me with a recommendation to being taken on for some counselling at the local gender clinic. It wasn’t long after that the local clinic told me that they don’t do gender counselling and so that is why I felt abandoned but need I really feel that way? I’ve been through counselling in the form of a psychologist that I feel, even though they weren’t gender specific specialists, offered more help than any gender psychiatrist in London had ever offered.
So with that in mind do I really need to go through all that again and go over the same ground again? Why study that degree for a second time if all I’m waiting for is the certificate? Okay, may be it wouldn’t hurt to talk to someone for an hour if I felt like I needed some guidance but may be I have all the guidance already.
I just need to listen to the things that I can remember from those sessions all those years ago. Save the waiting-list heartache and make further inroads by myself. Or just carry on as I have been if that suits. After all it’s not like I’m the typical male of my age by any means and people know this. It’s not really made life any harder for the most part. In fact it’s freeing and I would never want to go back.
As I get older the gender thing doesn’t have quite the same vibrance as youth. What it has is something more real and thought-out. It has experience and depth that it didn’t have in the same way in my twenties when I was discovering myself. It’s kind of like I’ve lost the dream, the hope, the wish of it all but when I really think about it, it’s because it’s slowly become reality and that dream is diminished. May be there is just a little more dream to complete.
Until next time.