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Spring Cleaning

Field Notes In/On Transition

Spring Cleaning

It’s kinda sorta spring in Vancouver, still not that warm yet, but there’s a decent mix of rain and sun that has me less depressed than the endless grey of most of the “winter months” here.

Like a lot of people, I get the idea every year to do a bit of spring cleaning. I say a bit, as I rarely give my place the top to bottom squeaky cleaning it should get. What it means for me is that I de-hoard a bit more stuff every year. For example I finally got rid of all the beer bottles and cans from under my sink, leftovers from 6 odd years of occasional parties. The ones that end up under the sink, well, out of sight out of mind as they say.

Of course, being me, there is also some brain clutter I’m trying to shed also. But being struck with my first cough/runny nose in over a year (definitely a record for me, who knew estrogen stopped colds, mostly) I’ve slowed down a bit from last week. While cleaning out my “junk drawer,” of dozens and dozens of pennies, thumbtacks, nails, screws, more tools than I realized I owned (where’s my hammer though, still haven’t found that) and watches, why do I have 6 non-functioning watches?  The brain clutter seems to be gummed up by the snot in my sinus though. I am just barely able to hold sparkling cinema conversations at work, and my often withering bon mots are few and far between lately, on facebook, or over coffee, where I generally do my best chatter.

I’m really feeling a need to get my finances under control a bit more. Not that I’m so far in the hole, but I am pretty sure even with my meagre earnings, I shouldn’t be quite as broke as I am all the time. I’ve started actually writing down appointments and to-do lists, something I long ago let slide, into my decent memory for such things. I’m one of those people who never needs an alarm clock. If I do set it (purely from a paranoid pov, that one time I sleep in...) I invariably wake up one or two minutes before it goes off, so why bother? 

In the next few weeks I plan to shed a lot of “stuff” that I have under the bed, in the closet. To that end, I have ready some bags of clothes for charity, and I’m shredding all of my old paperwork that is no longer relevant, I may even do a bit more divesting of books, dvds, etc. I feel a bit like I’m “nesting” finally as Josie, scattering the things Joe hung on to, hoarded as some kind of trophies. 

I’m slowly but surely slipping away from the bachelor tropes that have defined my so-called adulthood. I have never really felt like a grown up to start with. I don’t think I ever let myself do so. It’s easy to be “Peter Pan” as a single nerdy fat dude, it’s not quite as easy, but far more rewarding for me, though to be Wendy, or maybe even Tinkerbell. I’m slowly I think turning my bachelor lifestyle into that of a spinster lifestyle. I’ve been enjoying cooking my dinners far more than the last few years, lately; being more adventurous with said cooking, not just making the same old easy dishes, frozen food that Joe lived on, especially before the high blood pressure incident.

I was really into making reasonably healthy meals for at least a year after that, but have wavered quite a bit since then, eating out too much (where a lot of that cash I never seem to have, goes, I guess), drinking beer on the weekends, though so much less beer (higher quality though) than the old Fat Guy years. I was horribly ill a week ago on like 5 beer, which made me wistful for the old days when I seemingly could drink as much as I wanted to. Before my Hypertension got so bad (and likely one of the main causes in my mind) was that I could easily drink 6-12 beer any night, day of the week.

So The Cold stubbed my writing toe for a day or two. I missed a birthday dinner I wanted to go to, but rather than cough all over the celebration I stayed home and drank ginger tea, ate spicy stir fry and can feel myself recovering from the cold. i can breathe through my nose more or less now, and feel less worn out as last nights sleep was much better than the last few nights.  Also slowing down has been my spring cleaning, but tomorrow morning I plan to get a bunch of document shredding and budget work done. I have a plan. So weird. 

One thing that I have been grateful for throughout my transition is that I seem to be able to have those bestie friendships that were never ever quite right when I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. I have a couple of women friends who i can and do share a lot of my “stuff” with, and I feel there is a real give and take in being able to listen and comment on each other’s stuff. In my previous life, with women this kind of friendship always ended up tainted by my testosterone influenced urges. 

I much prefer the quiet tide of the lake to the cutting sword of the raging river that is the “male urge to sex,” or whatever else your testosterone might guide you into. Some people can sublimate. I never could. Awkwardness and clumsiness were the hallmarks of how I would often dampen the intimate friend moments I had back in the day. with my male friends I had so much shame that the sex thing never interfered much, unless I was getting a weird vibe back (which almost as often as with the ladies, my timing was off, on...)

Now I feel like I have shoulders to cry on (and real tears come out!) and shoulders born to bear others’ tears. 

This is a big thing for me coming into this time of year, the anniversary of my sister’s death, and her birthday, both next month. Carrie would have been 40 this year! On the 20th of May she will have been gone as long as she was here. She died in 1993. Cheyenne would be 20 in August. There is a part of me that feels like if she had lived, I might have felt the strength, support to transition more fully, earlier in life. 

I think she would have been a tremendous ally, as someone who hated bullies, and she did know, before she died, of my desire to transition, and through my mom, let me know she loved me no matter what. This has meant a lot to me over the years. I want to do something, this year to honour Carrie but haven’t quite figured out what, I’ll keep blogging and it’ll happen. Some kind of ceremony, light a candle, meditate, that kind of thing, does quite a bit for me. We never got to be adult brother sister friends, but she’s with me nonetheless every day, everywhere.

The other bit of the “old days” I’ve been thinking about, and chatting about is my relationship with that guy who was for a decade or so, my stepfather. I never called him Dad, though Carrie was young enough to, and did, and of course my Brother is his son. 

I called him Willy, like everyone else did. He was young (only 10 years older than me) to have such a big family, and he tried especially at first to teach me a lot of those “man things” you need to know like getting a decent shave, which I appreciate now more than ever, also, seeing as he was an army cook, he taught me my way around a kitchen, most importantly my way around a knife. I peeled a hella lot of potatoes and carrots working those army kitchens. 

I still can chop garlic with the best of them. Some of the other skills have gone fallow, but my “kitchen sense” has been returning, as my food prep has been inching towards a pretty much from scratch base. It feels good to cook something, rather than heat it up.

Some other “milestones” did not work out so well. It’s kind of amazing I didn’t become a vegetarian after the rabbit hunting, our first hunting trip together, and last. I shot a fluffy white bunny, and it didn’t die. My heart broke, as Willy blew it to fluff with a shotgun. Seriously, who takes a shotgun rabbit hunting?  I couldn’t kill it (at least not fast enough... stress makes me slooowwww down) and he never even brought up hunting again, or if he did I don’t even recall. Driving a car also was a giant freeze up, as I slowly put that old green Impala in the ditch about 5 times before he gave up on me and drove us home from the very safe back roads normal folk learned to drive on, down home.

I never did learn to drive. Every time (except a couple of times in Winterpeg) I tried driving after that it was the same3 thing, it wasn’t anything to do with my not wanting some kind of male car culture in my life, it was just that actually driving was far too much responsibility for me, then and at this point in y life it’s like a badge of homour with me, that I knew that whether I ever could have learned or not, I understood right from the first time, that I did not want to drive. I don’t mind a ride, but I’m a city girl and I like transit, walking, riding my bike, when I have one.

I’m sure there were other things that Willy tried to impart to me about being “a Man,” but I’ll be damned if I can recall anything other than the terror that if talked into some of these rites of passage, someone would see through my appearance and realize that despite appearances to the contrary, I wasn’t a guy. I sure as heck could never of come out living with Willy as My stepfather, and not have been kicked out of the house. 

At least I never ever dreamed I could. I planned to come out when I moved out, but then I had room mates, and jobs, and the timing was never right, until eventually a few years removed from the family home(s... we moved a lot, normal for me) that i was able to do so, and far longer until I could get to be who I thought I could be, Now I’m her, even with a distinctly male bark of a cough hanging on for all it’s worth. Arf! 

Oh one last update, next month I will be starting some very slow expensive (that’s why the slow, pace to affordability) process of having my beard, moustache burned out of my face with laser and electricity. Sounds scary? It is, but like I say, ia m going to find a pace that is comfortable and affordable for me. I’ve had a consultation, and talked extensively with the trained professional who will be working on clearing the forest below my nose.


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