Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020!

Dear Reader,

We made it through another year – Happy New Year!

What a year it has been for me! Looking back, I can’t believe everything that’s happened.

In January, I had my bottom surgery in New York City, and spent 7 weeks there recovering and enjoying the energy of the city. I returned to New York three more times, including a trip in June to go to WorldPride. In my visits, I’ve met new friends who inspire me and have been so generous with their time and advice.

While I haven’t discussed it on here, one of the benefits of having my bottom surgery early in the year is that I met my deductible and out-of-pocket maximums before the end of January. Since my healthcare for the remainder of the year was effectively free, I undertook a project of catching up on all the smaller procedures and surgeries I’d long put off because I didn’t want to spend the money: fixing a deviated septum and excising a few benign cysts from various places on my body. I’ve been sliced and diced this year!

In the spring, I did get to attend the Cirque show that I’d mentioned in my last New Years post – Luzia. It was very well done and a beautiful show. One surprise from the show was an act performed on Cyr wheels (think large rigid hula hoops that the artist stands in the middle and rolls and spins across the stage). I’ve seen the Cyr wheel performed many times – Corteo, Quidam (in Arena), and La Nouba have all had them – and each time, I came away a little dissatisfied. To be honest, the Cyr Wheel felt like a step down from the German Wheel, which I have also seen performed live (and prefer).

Cyr Wheel as performed in Luzia

But in Luzia, the act was performed by two women, with a third woman performing on a trapeze above them. What struck me about this performance was that with (only) women performing on the apparatus, the nature of the performance shifted in a fundamental way. Previous Cyr wheel acts were performed mostly by men (sometimes with a brief appearance of a woman), and in those performances, the men seemed to be showing off their dominance over the wheel: the act displayed their strength and ability to make the wheel do what they wanted. With these women, they performed many of the same elements that the men had, yet their performance showed off their ability to work with the wheel. It seemed to me that the Luzia women understood the apparatus so well that they were working in collaboration with the wheel, rather than showing off dominance. Perhaps this says something about gender; I don’t know. But I cried as I watched this act in Luzia, from the sheer beauty of the performance – something I’ve never done before.

What I didn’t expect with Cirque was the other shows I was able to attend this year. I took my daughter to see Corteo in the summer (which had another Cyr wheel act, exactly as I’d remembered it from years ago under the big top), and then Axel (performed on an ice rink) this fall. Corteo has always been one of my favorite Cirque shows, and the restaging of it in the arena was one of the best conversions I’ve seen. Axel was a unique treat – while I’d seen Crystal (another Cirque show performed on ice), Axel brought new elements – including fire – onto the ice, plus it had one of my favorite acts of all time – bungee ballet! The soundtrack was playing in my head for weeks afterwards – especially their cover of Tears for Fears’ Mad World.

This is Bungee Ballet as performed in Saltimbanco – the very act which drew me to Cirque du Soleil in the first place!

My hope for calm in our family life didn’t come in the ways that I’d hoped for, but some has come, anyways. We are finding our new normal, but it hasn’t been easy. One of my hopes was that I’d be able to take a break from pushing my transition forward, and that has indeed come to pass. One of the biggest benefits from my surgery was finding a new sense of confidence and peace inside of my own body, which has led to a shift in my perspective on my transition. While I can’t say that I’m done with transition (I doubt that I will ever be able to say that), I’ve found more times where I’m at peace with my gender and transition. That’s not to say that Gender Dysphoria doesn’t still rear its ugly head – far from it! But I have been able to enjoy the scenery more this year.

I can’t let this year close out without mentioning the friends I’ve been lucky to have. I’ve been blessed with the friends who have helped me through difficult and vulnerable times. I’ve been delighted to meet many new people both online and face-to-face. And I’ve said goodbye to a few who have moved on to new phases and places in their lives. I’ve never been so rich in friendship as I have in the few years since coming out and transitioning, and especially this year. For those friends who read my blog, thank you for being a part of my life – I love you all!

Last year, I wrote that I was trying to not place many expectations on 2019, and I’m glad I didn’t, because I really had no idea what an impact my surgery would have. But looking forward to 2020, I do have some hopes and plans:

  • I hope my family continues to heal from some of the difficulties we’ve faced (some related to my transition, some not).
  • I hope that my friendships expand and deepen.
  • I hope that I can build on the momentum of the broad strokes I’ve made at improving my physical and mental health.
  • I plan to become more physically active – something I’ve been very limited on this past year due to surgeries.
  • I plan to write more. Specifically, I plan to write a book. While it may never be published, I’ve found a story I need to tell – even if I’m the only person who ever hears it.
  • I plan to try new things. Some of the best experiences I’ve had in recent years have happened because I opened myself up to trying something I’ve avoided or didn’t even think about. This year, I’ve tried new foods (some of which I’d avoided since childhood), tried new activities, and even tried changing my attitude. Not everything was a great success, but I can’t say I regret trying anything.
  • I plan to engage in the community more. While I’m not a hermit, I am an introvert, which makes my natural tendency to stay at home. In 2019, I didn’t get to participate in as many things as I’d have liked, but the ones I did were very rewarding – I found myself wondering why I don’t do more things like them.

These aren’t resolutions – I don’t do resolutions for New Years. I’m speaking my hopes and wishes into the universe, because I’ve been finding that when I do this, more often than not, things end up working out – sometimes as I’d hoped, but often even better.

Until next year (which begins tomorrow, lol!),

Me

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