No, not *that* kind of housekeeping. 😉
I try to write something about every two to three days and some of ya’ll are so sweet and check in on me when I go a few days without updating my site. I am actually very touched when that happens. I wanted to let you know I’ll be traveling for work for the next week or so and I won’t be posting during that time. I’ll likely be sending random tweets so you can keep up with my random thoughts there if you’d like. I’ll approve any pending comments and post Ask Hannah answers when I return.
I also try to post on significant dates, and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day aren’t any different. Since I’ll be traveling I won’t be posting on those days, but I wanted to write a little about this year and the upcoming one. So! Here we go.
I try to be positive, God knows I do, and God knows it’s not always easy. We started 2021 with a LOT of hope fueled mostly by a vaccine against COVID. Things felt dark and bleak for most of 2020 but… I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me but I feel more pessimistic and scared these days than I have in a long time. I think those feelings are a response to the world still being impacted by COVID but the world also trying to go back to normal at the same time. Mask mandates are rare at the moment, people are returning to work, schools are open, and events, whether they are concerts, football games, or celebrations are forging ahead. Things are bad, AND they don’t look like they will get better any time soon.
When COVID hit part of me thought this would go away in a few weeks. When that didn’t happen, I felt that things would turn around with a vaccine. That happened for a bit but things are really bad again. During the first days of the pandemic we waited until things would go back to normal but it’s obvious things won’t do that and we must learn to adapt to THIS for now…. and we’ll continue to wait for whatever world we’ll have when the pandemic ends (because I am still optimistic enough to think that it WILL end). When I would think about life returning back to normal, I thought of the things I would do. Go shopping without a mask, visiting friends, maybe even flying pretty. I looked forward to these things. Looking forward to things helps keeps me moving forward. As time passed, these moments looked more and more elusive. These days I don’t plan things like that, I don’t plan anything more than a few weeks in advance and when I do, it’s always with the understanding that things could change abruptly. I am supposed to fly out of Minneapolis tomorrow, but there’s a good chance my flight will be canceled. I can’t even plan on my trip still happening as scheduled.
And this KILLS me. I am a planner, I like to know what I am doing this afternoon, in two weeks, and I like to be reasonably confident that my plane will leave on time. Everything has gone out the window. In the early days of 2020 I was a wreck. My life, my day had no structure. Everything changed very quickly. We had to adapt to working at home, parents had to adapt to their children doing remote learning, and washing our hands increased by a billion percent. And for the most part, this is where we still are. Little has changed compared to 18 months ago, but WE had to change. We had to adapt.
And we sort of did. Some people are ignoring the pandemic and trying to go back to normal. I get it. I really do. I want things to be normal again but we can’t force that. COVID has its own thoughts when it comes to our plans. I adapted by accepting that I can’t plan things. Not being to schedule ANYTHING causes my anxiety to go up a billion percent. These days I don’t FEEL *that* anxiety. I don’t get anxious about my flight potentially getting canceled tomorrow and disrupting an entire week of work that I have planned. I SHOULD feel anxious and maybe I do but perhaps I am used to it and not noticing it the way I used to. This level of anxiety might be my new normal.
I had to learn to live in the moment. And living in the moment sounds so inspirational and freeing, but in reality it’s not always so. I am stubbornly and reluctantly living more day-to-day. Maybe my flight will be canceled? Maybe everyone in the world will get vaccinated? Maybe COVID will stop evolving? These thoughts aren’t necessarily a sign of optimism, rather they are a result of almost two years of THINGS happening. Could anyone have possibly predicted the world that we have today? Well, probably, but the point is this is not the reality “for now”. This IS reality…. and God knows how long this will last.
Changing my mindset from planning every minute of every day to just… seeing how things go has been surprisingly… liberating? Again, I don’t know if I am simply so anxious to the point where it’s become my new normal mental state and therefor I don’t notice it, or if it’s something else. The point is I am going into the new year with zero plans. I have no goals, I have nothing that I hope to do. This sounds overly pessimistic but I’ve learned that until *THIS* goes away, I can’t make plans. I can’t make plans that stand a good chance of getting disrupted which would create disappointment. So, I am planning nothing and well, let’s see how that goes.
It’s not as freeing and exciting as it sounds. I am used to looking towards the new year with things I want to experience as Hannah. This could be a new experience or something I’ve done before that I am keen on doing again. My life (both of my lives) has been paused for almost two years. Fun experiences can’t be planned, whether a vacation or hitting the mall en femme. This paused time has given me moments of reflection and an opportunity to evaluate my life/lives. For my boy life it’s been a significant shift from planning things to just… seeing how things go. For Hannah it’s been reflecting how SHE fits into HIS life, mainly when it comes to coming out. I used to want to come out to more friends. I used to want Hannah to do things that HE does. I don’t necessarily want that anymore. I mean, it would be nice to have coffee en femme with friends that only know me as HIM, and it used to give me pangs of regret when I would think that moments like that probably wouldn’t happen. These days I have a better understanding of what I want, and I don’t want a blurring of my two lives anymore. The boy has HIS life and Hannah has HER life and that’s been the case for a while. I used to want a little more overlap but… I don’t think so anymore.
What changed? I am not sure if anything really did. Perhaps I just worked my way through any perceived conflict (so to speak) of coming out versus keeping things as they are. I know coming out will require a LOT of conversations and energy but I don’t feel I have the emotional bandwidth to do that, especially in a pandemic. I don’t want to take anything more on. Of course, were I wanted to transition it would be a different story. In some ways, coming out (for me) aligns with a desired outcome. I came out to a female roommate a loooong time ago because I wanted to keep wearing a nightgown to bed and was tired of hiding my clothes. I came out to my mom because I hoped that by me being honest with her about who I am would bring us closer. We do have a better relationship these days but it’s not because I came out. I came out to my sisters because I had hoped that they would like having a new sister.
Coming out with having a goal in mind has met with mixed success. My roommate didn’t care (so that was a win) but my sisters aren’t interested in meeting Hannah for coffee. It makes me wonder if allllll the drama, all the emotion, all the talks were… well, worth it. The track record, so to speak, hasn’t been encouraging. If coming out to people in my life was always a positive experience I would be more encouraged to keep coming out, but that hasn’t been the case. Of course, what one comes out AS can make a difference. Were I to come out as transgender with wanting to transition, I have no doubt that most people in my life would be happy and excited for me. Coming out as transgender, and more specifically bi-gender with no plans to transition… well, for some that’s a little new to them. For most cis gender people, most transgender people they know of are those that have/or will transition. Someone having two gender identities is a concept that isn’t easy to understand or relate to.
Coming out changes your life and the lives of those around you. I don’t feel the need to come out to anyone else. For the most part I don’t think it will be worth the drama and the confusion that it could be bring. My life/lives are as perfect as they can be. I am happier and more content than I ever could have dreamed. If this is all I will ever have, it’s more than I could have ever hoped for. I am at peace.
Well, at peace as much as I can be in a global pandemic where everything feels dark and bleak at any rate.
I don’t have plans or goals for 2022. I won’t have a wish for the new year…. except for this. I wish you all peace. I know how our gender identity and wardrobe desires can cause tension and stress. I know how uncertain we can feel with what this means and what we want. I know how it feels to be in denial and to resist what our hearts want. I’ve been there. If you still need to, I hope you can accept who you are. While it’s true that accepting yourself doesn’t necessarily mean being able to wear what you want or to identify how you wish to the rest of the world, you can quietly accept who you are. You can make peace with yourself, with who you are.
And who you will be.
Happy New Year.