How my life has changed! I no longer feel the hurry to accelerate my passage through the moments, though I can remember having felt that way. It’s not just age, my companions in the wardrobe crew are also in their late middle age. Is it hormones? They were men expressing those feelings, but the women also agreed with the sentiment. The change in my attitude does date from around the time I began hormone replacement therapy (HRT) two years ago, though I think it really began a little before, during the recovery from my breakdown. Perhaps it was having to let go of the obligations and expectations that I felt defined me, that I felt so necessary for my survival, to achieve the goals I had set my heart on. Letting go of my dreams of providing what my parents weren’t able to provide for me; a stable family home, and economic support for my children’s post-secondary education. Or was it my acceptance of the reality of my jobless state? Accepting the unlikelihood of my finding suitably satisfying and remunerative employment considering my age, lack of University degree and my gender, and my subsequent determination to make the best of it, to learn to reduce expenses and make do with very little. Or learning to accept that caring for my then fragile state of health was more important than my illusions of an artistic career. Probably it had a lot to do with my decision to get off the fence on where I stood about my gender, and accept that I couldn’t be happy as a gender ambiguous person, wearing a skirt while people were referring to me as he.
However, it was when the effects of the HRT began to be felt, particularly my relief at the release from the effects of testosterone, that I finally stopped thinking about suicide, and began to anticipate the future with curiosity. Not that I had been pessimistic all my life. I had many periods of exaltation; first loves, travel, and new artistic projects. Periods of contentment, however, were usually soon tarnished by self criticism, worries about social and professional inadequacy and economic uncertainty. I was egotistical and anxious about what I felt to be my responsibility to make real my understanding of how things should be and to create a suitable future for myself, my loved ones, and all of humanity. Career successes were usually times of complication, depression, feelings of being unworthy and unappreciated. I would try desperately to hold on to love, anguished about my partners' misunderstandings and defensiveness, and feeling disillusioned and suicidal. All of this is gone. The past two years have been ones of equanimity. Despite what in the past I would have seen as negative. The little paid work I get is humble and undependable. I have good friends, but no love affairs. My professional successes are occasional, with limited recognition. I have fallen from the esteem of some of my family and friends. I have wrinkles and aches and suffer from minor dance injuries. Yet, even this minor suffering is felt as evidence of life.
How wonderful to feel the miracle of each new day, to feel thankful for being alive, and to be able to take a little time to appreciate it. Waiting is not tedious, it can be full of awareness and wonder. I look forward to what comes next with curiosity, anticipation, but not impatience. How fast time passes, in retrospect. I never thought I would be 58 so soon, that I would have children, that they would become adults. One day I will die. I am not afraid of it, but I have no desire to hasten that day.