Another dark evening. The houses now decorated even more so with December rushing in like a wave on a long winter beach. Some delicate white lights tastefully still in garden hedges and some dancing like a disco in the 1980s. Some gardens and windows lit with minimalism and some with a glowing snowman and reindeer bright enough to attract landing planes from the US.
The cool air brushed past my face and condensation grew on parked cars that would be breathed on by frost over night. December really felt it was here and despite feeling pretty rubbish all day I had forced myself to go for another short run around the village to see if it would improve my sleep and make me feel just that bit better the next day. Give my mind a chance to rest from Christmas present thinking and the usual gender thing daily obsession.
The gender thing can be an obsession in the sense that while things are being sorted it’s a constant thought process weighing things up back and forth. This week, during clearing things in the house, I decided to sort through the small basket of makeup that has been sat in my bottom draw for years. Different eyeliners and lipsticks came and went, well they came, but much of the time they didn’t go. Only a handful of dried up nail polish bottles have ever been thrown out and so it steadily built a little. Some had even split in two like oil and water but clear varnish and hardened colour; they are always the oldest.
I pulled the basket from the draw and placed it besides me on the bed. The basket itself was a bit battered with twigs of weave falling into the carpet waiting to be forgotten and stab me in the toe later on. I clawed through the contents. Mascara, open lid symbol with ’36 months’ written on it. Well I’ve not bought mascara in the last 3 years so that’s out. Ink black wet eyeliner, ‘6 months.’ I’ve had that longer than the mascara! Out it went.
A chrome lipstick tube with at least a quarter of lipstick. I remember buying it and I remember the evenings years ago that I used it on nights out in Bristol City. A green nail varnish, a dark purple varnish, a sky blue one, ‘True Blue’ — “that’s completely dried up, out it goes, I don’t care what the memories are.” It seemed so easy that day to throw things even though many had links to the past for some reason or another but I guess that was a mark of progress.
This wasn’t purging. This was clearing the deck. Washing the branches up the beach to the shore line and leaving it there at the tide line. Purging, as some will know, is that dreadful time in the early days of dealing with gender identity where either guilt, denial or both take hold and you decide throw everything away and ignore it, hoping that it goes away forever. That is until it returns and then you have to start all over again and feel terrible about all those nice things you threw away.
This was not that. I only ever had a real purge once in my life in my early twenties and there were reasons behind it that felt right at the time but it was with a vision of starting again rather than of leaving it all behind. This was sorting and keeping things that I thought I may use again or wanted to hang on to a little longer until I was sure.
Much like clearing out my old makeup clutter my running clears my head a little. It’s medication without the prescription and having a clear small collection of things like makeup, having less to think about, is itself cleansing.
It’s about baggage and reducing its load but not necessarily letting go of the memories so we can experience new things without that weight holding us back. I’ve spent this year trying to experience new things, as well as my gender identity progression, and being able to let go of some of my past without actually destroying it feels much more free.
As I approach the end of the year and feel the count down to twenty-twenty I see something of change. I don’t know what that change will be but a letting go of some fears and finding myself in a different way that I have in the past. Less trepidation and internal embarrassment and more taking the lead of my life.
When I see people who I feel influence my life that I see as a kind of role model I also think about those transgender people and which of them I feel is a role model for me. I could name people who are famous for being transgendered from the early years of gender identity coming to the forefront of the public eye and their bravery in hard times or the new set who have made themselves public that were famous for their career and suddenly told the world who they really are.
While they are incredible people I think about “Tom”, the young barista at a cafe in the city. In his early twenties serving me my drink with politeness and without a flinch of whether he feels accepted or not, for me he is my role model. In a new world of gender identity he has decided to become male and even though female to male role transition has its differences to male to female, in the few times I have met him and the little I know about him, I feel in awe of that confidence at that age with their future ahead of them compared to mine that is so many years late.
With just that little amount of information about Tom it is enough for me to find some comfort, hope and positivity from them without even talking to him about his issues. I’m not so clueless to realise that things might well be extremely difficult and challenging for Tom but sometimes ignorance really is a bliss for me and to see someone from behind the counter is the gloss on gender identity that I need.
Until next time.