I probably won't stay up because midnight feels ages away, even this early, but I'm glad 2017 is ending. While it was a great year for me on a personal growth level, it was also a terrible one in myriad other ways.
Much of the week I have been pondering New Years resolutions and the tendency many people have to make them blithely, never intending to keep them. I don't do this any more.
In my mid- to late-20s when I made myself a very specific resolution, at a particularly terrible time in my life, I ruined myself on ever making them again. No, I don't not make them because I know I won't keep them. I don't make them because of the one I did.
If I remember correctly it was a New Years Eve much like any other I had ever had. Usually I would get drunk, either alone or with friends. I preferred alone. At least then I could get good and stinking.
Wherever I was, I was very drunk. Or possibly still hungover from the day before. Or most likely of all, both.
As I sat feeling sorry for myself, the dull knife-edge of depression I had grown so accustomed to feeling at all times pressed itself snugly against my heart, reminding me not-so-subtly of its presence.
Everything in me hurt. Being alive hurt. The sounds of others enjoying themselves from outdoors reminded me once again how lonely I was. Pretending I cared about anything was more than I could bear. The misery of a new year beginning and yet another slipping away from me, while I languished as a person only in potentia had become untenable. Each thought about how happy I would have been had I been born female pushed that knife in my chest, and slid it in -- painfully -- a fraction of an inch further.
I made myself a promise that if I hadn't started transitioning by the time I was 40, I'd reconsider trying to kill myself again.
I don't remember what year it was I made myself this promise. I don't remember where I was, or what I even did that day. But I remember the promise, despite how drunk I was.
2018 is starting in about five hours where I live, and six days after that I will turn 40 years old. By February 9th, just over a month later, I will have been on HRT and presenting female full-time for most of that year.
I'm not sure I would have gotten where I am right now without goading myself into action with that silly New Years Eve promise I made to myself all those decades ago. I have known I was trans for so long, and yet it wasn't until I realized my deadline was fast approaching that I started moving. Slow, even plodding, perhaps. But doing something. And most of those things were new. And some of them were scary.
And they still are, even now. And things are hard. Oh my gosh, are they! But they're better. They're hard in the kind of way that means you know what you're doing is "the right thing".
I don't know what all everyone else is resolving to themselves this year, but for me, 2018's theme is, "do the right thing". In my case that means I'm doing the right thing for me. I've spent my entire life putting my own needs off to keep others comfortable, or avoid exposing them to new ideas. I'm through with that kind of thinking. It isn't my responsibility to bear anyone's comfort on my own back.
If you're questioning your gender, try some simple things. Try shaving. Get a wig or binder. Cut your hair, or grow it out. If you have questions you can't answer yourself, get help: therapy is almost always available on a sliding scale.
Most of all, please. Don't give up.