I missed three weeks writing this blog. Just being in other places, or too busy with life really. And not having sufficient reason to write something meaningful. In the meantime I’ve been nursing a sprained ankle back to strength, clearing out a lot of clutter and being more creative about space with and for my partner. I’m liking the whole idea of restarting shared life and not being the only one to make decisions about home-making. In fact I’m liking it so much, that all that happened last year is seeming like a very long time ago indeed.
Doing this as a grown adult rather than a twenties person is quite different. We know much more what to do, and why. We can make decisions, even think slightly radical thoughts about use of space and things owned too long. We can do things we’ve done before, and things we haven’t tried yet. It’s up to us. I like this freedom, to disagree, consider, agree, act. Freedom; a few years ago I was looking for freedom to be myself by changing, and at the time a lot of what I ended up being freed from felt a lot like other people’s decisions.
Freedom is a funny old thing, that we all want, and then find one person’s freedom restricts another’s. We then get tangled in words like ‘compromise’ and ‘expectations’. Our recent UK elections gave us a sense of pride in political freedom, to vote for whoever we liked. It’s a free country. Except that two-thirds of us who are entitled to vote did not get a representative government at all. I still regularly see social media posts from people who don’t feel free to be themselves, or, if they want to express themselves, realise that being free in one way means being rejected in another, bringing instead, restrictions.
I’m free now from a whole load of things I carried all my life. I’m even free of the system that enabled me to become finally free. And yet my obligations include a job too far from home, not exactly doing what I love, and not as rewarding as I’d like. I want to be free to learn something new and use it to benefit other people, not just earn money. In this respect I am not free. Earning is an obligation that cannot be paused. Hey ho. The answer, again, is for me to work out for myself, to do what matters most to me. I think I am in another kind of transition phase, from disruption back into gradual change, and getting used to walking instead of running obstacle courses. I’m walking, quietly.
It might seem I am walking away from some things. Where am I on Facebook, or Twitter? Very quiet. Meeting less frequently with other trans* people, and contributing less to online conversations, or even trans*-related blogging. I am even thinking about letting this blog drift off into poetry, and writing about writing instead. Why not? In some ways I really am going quietly, slipping back into a steady life, where I am happily loving and living and making a new social life. I don’t need to say anything much any more; my learning is different. I was invited last week to read my poetry at a local literary gathering in Brighton, and chose a set that had really nothing much to do with my recent transition. The theme was ‘place and permission’, reflecting on various things, from clearing a deceased relative’s house to observing life as a flat-dweller, to places with memories that stay with you, where you can’t really ever go again.
Did I go quietly, when I left my comfortable existence? No; not really. I was angry and noisy and preserving my dignity all at the same time. But I have gained a sense of belonging, to places and to people, that are some new, some just changed. This is still happening, so the poetry evening was followed the next day by a trip with a band I play with, for an extended weekend of outdoor concerts in Kent. It’s something I’ve often done, but this time I was going with my partner, for who it was a new and unknown experience. It was lovely, really lovely (apart from the weather not being as warm and quiet as it might). And of course we were a couple. Just quietly there with people I’ve known for ten years, but as the only trans* person in the band and now as the only lesbian couple too. It’s very reassuring to be accepted with question or explanation.
Apart from the ff parts, and sitting right in front of the timpani, it all went quietly.