What's in your glass? Is it half empty, half full or something different? This is the time of year we tend to take stock of our lives and that of what has happened over the past year.
Being of melancholic temperament, I have in past years spent my time dwelling on things that didn't go well or were exceptionally spectacularly disastrous. This isn't about those experiences. It isn't helpful for me to recount those to others very often unless there is something that the person would learn that would help them to improve their own situation. I am not unique in this regard, we all have those types of experiences in our histories. I do hope that those of you sharing this prose have not had too many experiences like those I refer to! Still, I was able to take them and turn them into something positive, or I would not be able to be sharing these thoughts with you. I have benefited from my own adversity and have been able to use it to help others sometimes. I hope that you have been able to take the darkest, most difficult times and turn them into something that benefited your own growth or helped others to overcome their own personal adversity as well.
This year, despite some very sad events, my glass is decidedly over half full. Some of the reasons for this have been due to professional accomplishments and some of them are due to achievement on a more personal level.
Professionally, I have been able to expand the services offered with the transgender care program I put together. I was able to add another provider of HRT, a psychiatrist who will write the second opinion letters of those I recommend for GRS and are adding voice therapy this month. This is a service that seems to be in great need and hard to find. I'm grateful to the health care professionals who took the time to listen to my talk about the needs of the transgender community and are willing to grow personally and professionally to offer these much needed services. In no small measure this was due to my willingness to become vulnerable and share my life story with them about my life and why I do what I do professionally. For me to have grown to the degree that I was willing to take that risk is no small step in becoming who I have always been, trusting that people who know me will continue to respect me and be supportive of what I need to become self actualized. To me this is a real accomplishment. What makes it most important to me is that it benefits people who will now have choices that never existed for me when I was younger. As time goes on, I hope to expand our services in other areas of health care. The possibilities, I believe, are limited only by my own vision. So this makes it most important that I focus on the positive and not what I haven't accomplished, which would be characteristic of my nature.
I also gave six workshops in places that I haven't presented at before. I met a lot of wonderful people who came to my workshops and I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with people I have admired for years. I learned that there are a lot of people who think what I am doing is important and that I have something special to contribute to the lives of people like myself. I've always had a difficult time believing that. ( I'm not fishing for compliments). Because of the experiences I have had and the people I have met, I am beginning to actually believe I have something to offer others. I don't think at the end of last year I could have said that because I didn't believe it. I'm not going to attempt to single each of you out. Each of you who read this will know that you are one of the people I am referring to, though not all of you might have the opportunity to see this in the written word. Many of these accomplishments would not have happened without the generosity and kindness that characterize the kind of person you are. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart and soul. It is a great gift you have given of yourself freely to me.
Others have simply granted me the gift of friendship and acceptance. This is no small thing to me. It is a rare and treasured thing.
One of the most important things I was able to find was a church and faith community where I feel at home and most importantly I feel wanted. I can be myself and am given the gifts of being ministered to and nurtured by other women in this church. It is a place for me to explore my spirituality as a woman and grow in that aspect of my spirit. It is something that has always been an important part of my life and I found the first fleeting vision that I could have this in a Baptist church in New Jersey when I had gone up there to give a workshop and stayed with a dear friend who attended that church. It was even more special as not only was it the first time I was able to worship as I am without a facade, but I took communion that day as well. Now I have a church where I can receive that sacrament every time I attend.
The most important thing that I have that makes my glass well over half full is the love and commitment of my marriage with Patty. It takes a very special woman to be able to take this journey with me. We are every wife's nightmare, more often than not. There are a lot of special women like her, but so many more who cannot go through a life with a transgendered spouse. I hope that I will be worthy of the ongoing pledge of love and commitment that I have been given. It is truly a gift freely given.
It is so very clear to me that this year I have been blessed. I hope that no matter how difficult and painful your year has been, there are some things that each of you count among your blessings too.