I’m sitting here on this, the last day of 2015, reflecting on my experiences over the past twelve months. It’s been a year of ups and downs but I feel I’m moving into the New Year from a good place.
This was the first full year I lived 100% as myself, Alexandra. I’ve found a self-confidence I didn’t know I was capable of: when I first transitioned I was anxious about being seen in public but now, thanks to a lack of negative reactions from people I’ve encountered, I find I feel relaxed and able to simply be myself.
This was also the year I met in person one of the many friends I’ve made online, the lovely Sonia Boué. After exchanging comments on our respective blogs and communicating via Facebook it was such a pleasure to finally meet at an art exhibition and spend time together.
On the work front things weren’t so good for a while: the company I’d worked at for over eight years replaced their CEO and merged with another company, which affected the structure of the department I worked in as well as the ambiance of the place. I no longer felt comfortable or happy there and when a chance to move on presented itself I took it.
I didn’t get hung up on the possibility of encountering difficulties trying to get hired as a trans woman: I just went in there and interviewed, and had the luxury of being able to choose between offers. Three months later I’m confident I made the right choice: I’ve managed to make some friends in my new workplace and I’m building a social side to my work life.
My wife Anne’s mobility has declined to the point where she now needs a wheelchair when we go out. I’ve become quite skilled at pushing it: I rarely collide with things any more, as well as learning how to spot and negotiate the bumps that would otherwise jar the chair and cause her discomfort. She doesn’t like these restrictions on her independence, but at least the chair means she’s not totally house-bound.
Within the last couple of weeks I received the unwelcome news that my father was seriously ill and in a care home; two days before I had arranged to visit him I was informed that he had been taken into hospital, requiring treatment. I’d not seen him for six years, since my mother’s funeral, and had hardly spoken to him in that time.
He didn’t know about my transition and it took a while before he realized who had come to visit him. He did keep calling me by my old name, but I let it go: in that place and at that time it wasn’t important. I only spent an hour and a half with him before I had to leave for the four hour drive home, but it was good to see him again. The change in him over the course of my visit was gratifying: having started out quiet and listless, by the time I left he was talking in quite an animated way and seemed to be much more positive and happy. It was a good experience for both of us.
As rewarding as the reconnection was with my father, it doesn’t compare with the real high point of my year. That number one spot goes to my daughter, Char, who got in touch with me this summer. Since then we’ve been getting to know each other after such a long separation and we’re getting along well, becoming good friends. We had a fantastic day out together yesterday that the blustery weather couldn’t dampen.
I could dwell on all the time I missed while she was growing up into the young woman I’m getting to know now, but that would be pointless: it’s over and in the past. What’s important is that she’s given me this second chance and I can’t express how much that means to me.
So all that remains is to wish you all a very Happy New Year, and I hope that 2016 will be equally memorable for all the right reasons. Thank you!