Feeling a Shift


When I was in high school I drove a 1973 Gremlin X. It was a rusty hard driven three speed and every now and then, for no particular reason, it would just pop out of gear.  This was a bit distracting for a new driver, but over time I learned to anticipate the pop, calmly shift it back into gear, and never miss a beat.  It was a combination of sound, vibration and motion that only I could detect – sort of like Radar O’Reilly’s uncanny ability to hear the helicopters before anyone else.  

Getting top surgery, taking testosterone and getting fit has put me in a similar space with my body.  It’s like I’m coming out of a fog – a protective fog I’d put between myself and a body I could no longer relate to after puberty hit.  This is all a bit disorienting, like the “pop” out of gear, but I need to keep moving down the road so I’m learning to anticipate the the shifts.  Some shifts are physical (new hair showing up, a visible vein, a bicep).  Others are emotional (more comfort with solitude, less fear walking alone in the dark, more calm).  

Sometimes this all gets disorienting.  When that happens, I try to ground myself in the moment and stay present.  If I start thinking too far ahead or dwell on the past I freeze up in anxiety or regret.  I’m slowly learning to take care of myself and nourish a body too long neglected.  I’m finding my voice and saying no when I need to to put me first.  It’s freedom and fear intertwined – exhilarating and painful.  

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