I feel like this year has been, minus the election of Trump, a really good year for me. It’s been a year of firsts, and a year of growth, certainly. For years and years, it felt like life had something against me, because nothing ever seemed to work out – it was a constant struggle just to keep my head above water. But this year…this year has been the year of everything just kind of falling into place.
I now have a job that I enjoy, doesn’t micromanage me, appreciates me, is a walkable distance from my house, is meaningful, and pays enough for me to live comfortably. After a decade below the poverty line, it has been a profound change. I’m beginning to realize that one of the reasons that I looked at every hour as time I could spend working is partially because I couldn’t afford to do anything else. It’s like someone has pulled away the curtain on what a life on land can be like, after years spent treading water trying to keep my head above the waves.
I’m finally losing weight. My weight had been in a steady upward trajectory since college, then stabilized when I got top surgery last year, and this year is falling pretty quickly. A year and a half ago, I was wearing size 38 pants. I now easily fit into a size 34 in a slim/skinny cut, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I could do the same in a size 32 by the end of the year. It’s really incredible to look in the mirror in the morning and see myself finally starting to look the way I want. Once I start going to the gym before work, it’ll be even better.
I’m finally able to afford to buy things that aren’t just cheap crap from IKEA or Old Navy. I still mostly buy my stuff secondhand on Craiglist, eBay, or Swap, but now I can afford to spend $100 on something that’s worth more like $400 instead of spending $15 on something that originally sold for 50. I heavily favor quality over quantity, but that hasn’t really been a preference I’ve been able to accommodate until now. I’m working on slowly “upgrading” old, worn out belongings to newer, better versions that will last substantially longer.
Even though I’ve always been more attracted to men than women, after I transitioned, I kind of held back from the idea of dating men for awhile. The gay scene can be really intimidating if you’re new to it, and I did the equivalent of coming out at 30. Thankfully, I have friends who want the best for me, and have helped introduce me to that world to an extent that I’m now comfortable in it. For the first time in my life, I’m actually having really great luck meeting people. It’s amazing what having a good cuddle will do for your mental health.
Though I bought my house last year, it was a giant pile of problems for a solid 10 months after I got it, with various parts of the house being under construction for most of the year. The house still needs work, but it’s stable now, which has meant that I’m actually able to sort through the material side of my life a bit. I’ve gotten rid of probably a dozen bags of random crap and clothing and I’m making some good progress toward my goals, of having an organized, un-cluttered life.
I’m not sure why, but all of a sudden over the last 6-8 months, I’ve been getting a lot more attention for my work, both my photography work and my other art. It’s somewhat poorly-timed, as I now have a regular 9-5, but it’s very welcome and is actually doing a lot toward combatting the imposter syndrome I’ve struggled so hard with for years. Having a studio has opened up a lot of opportunities I couldn’t access before, and that’s resulting in better work and more experimentation, which is in turn attracting more positive attention to it. It’s like a feedback cycle of encouragement, and it’s doing great things for me.
I guess the best way to summarize this is that I feel like life is finally letting me be the adult I’ve been trying to be for the last decade. It’s nice to finally be able to be fully myself.