Living in the present

  • Posted on April 23, 2012 at 11:57 pm

There is no yesterday: yesterday does not exist.
There is no tomorrow: tomorrow does not exist.
For our yesterdays are merely our interpretations,
and our tomorrows are but our imaginings.

There is only now. There is only this.

This is how I worked it out some time ago. I guess it’s Buddhist at heart. I still believe it’s true. This is the nature of time, of existence, of life. But like you, I fear the future for what it might take away, and grieve the past as past futures – so badly imagined and now so critically interpreted.

And then I sit and meditate, and all my awareness is that I am whole, that I am safe, that I am present. And that unmistakeably, I am woman. And I look around now and I see men of all kinds busy being men, and I think: how could I ever have believed I was really one of those? As I came home today I had a sense of overwhelming gratitude that being a man was not my future, that all my tomorrows are as a woman.

Which all sounds terribly obsessed with gender, and not at all to do with the here and now. In a previous blog I spoke of the plea that ‘I am still here!’, meaning that inside I have not changed, that this now is the same as all my past nows in terms of how I am expressed. Maybe. I struggle for illustrations that make this make sense to other people. It’s like putting glasses on for the first time and realising what normal is supposed to feel like: the same eyes, but seeing clearly, the same you looking out, and everyone else calling you four-eyes. Who? Me?

Something in me is crying out to be loved for who I am, not for what I appear to be, or have appeared to be.

Does my present re-interpret my past, and change it?

I hold out my hand, and say: this is my hand, the same hand, that tells the story of my life, as you – as I – have known it. It has been wondered at, it has been functional, it has known drains and delicacy, it has destroyed and it has created. It has helped and it has healed. It has enacted at all times for me.

And this is my heart, the same heart that first loved, that felt, that feels, that hopes. Unchanged, all its hopes and expressions have been from the same source as they are today. Only today I know that if my heart has gender at all, it is not the heart of a man. In every present moment now past, I should have known, but my interpretation of the past is that I did not know. Un-named, ungendered, this female heart of mine, like my hand, did so much. As the source of so much, it was unquestioned, and was nothing but loved and accepted in return. Every interpretation, every imagining, created a present that was fitting, that was good.

But this heart of mine is now named! I am so completely filled with the joy of that recognition, that my present is alive and lit as never before, despite all the other anxious matters of employment, earning, returning to economic viability, and finding my social place again. But there go my imaginings … Will I be able to find fulfilling work, with the now inherent disadvantages of not just being 55, and female, but trans? Be present! Tomorrow does not exist!

And there go my interpretations too. Have I only been loved because I was living under false pretences? My hand was the hand of a woman?! My heart was a female heart?! If that had been known, would either have had consent? Does my present invalidate all my past, reinterpreting it?

And there goes my present … There is only now – and now, I am a woman in some inappropriate places. What my hand did yesterday it may not do today. All that came from my heart yesterday may be an inappropriate expression of its aspirations for tomorrow.

I am woman. There is only now. Yesterday does not exist. Tomorrow does not exist. There is only this, and in this alone is where all love lies – and where it has only ever lain. I must trust, I must be present. In truth, nothing else actually exists at all.


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