It took nearly a year, but for the first time I felt like myself. 11 months after the accident, I felt alive and in my own skin again.
What a year.
I learned so much. At six months, it feels like an eternity has passed but after you leap over that mental roadblock, the days become that much longer. And then, when that dreaded year mark finally comes…it’s not so bad. Time: compressed, meaningless. Time: compressed, reminisced, meaningful. What’s any length of time when you’re happy again?
Nothing, that’s what.
I’m so proud of myself for pulling through this far. When I started to exercise again in earnest at the end of June, I couldn’t even fathom having enough energy to backpack ever again, much less maintain momentum over the past 3 months. On Aug 1st, I spent my first nights outdoors again with my friends carrying our overnight gear and on Sept 15 I backpacked again, carrying my own sleeping bag, extra clothing, and food. Back in June I questioned if I could ever ski again, and now the promise of winter – of feeling free – tempts me with its lustre and proximity.
And I’m so thankful for all the support I’ve had. Even though I feel extremely lonely and heartbroken now for everything I’ve lost, I’m so grateful for the personal growth I went through and the opportunities that await me.
A year ago, I couldn’t push the words past my lips, the ones that I’d been mulling over for two years: I’m nonbinary trans.
I’m not a girl.
A year ago, I pushed them past my lips, but when my queer-looking counsellor didn’t respond with any similar personal anecdotes, I didn’t seek further connections with the queer community. To be honest, back then, and even now, I’m so desperate for queer companions that I assume queerness before binary/straightness.
Yesterday, after four months of waiting and a nerve wracking phone call: I went to my first Qmmunity counselling session. And the feeling of having a counsellor who wasn’t just an ally but a member of the community, sharing her story, was like coming home.
I would never have imagined when I first started this blog that I’d one day realize I was queer, genderfluid, nonbinary. This (https://lawnchairair.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/post-season/) is one of my most treasured possessions. It’s a completely self unaware account of gender dysphoria and devastating sadness at losing that oppurtunity to “be myself”. To be honest, I could probably find accounts of that in older journals if I tried looking. When I literally felt that I would die without snowboarding, I wasn’t wrong. I would die if I had to live a lie and wasn’t allowed to be the person I knew I was. I’m sometimes a man in a woman’s body and there’s nothing goddam wrong with that and I want to be able to shout that from the rooftops some day (while also having people talk about me and say “X is stronger than most men I know!” But something more gender-fair and not man-slamming.)
I was so sure I was genderfluid, nonconforming back in 2014. Now it’s 2018. I’m sick of hiding. I want to be me. I want to look back in the next four years and think, Wow, how my life has changed. I am so happy to be living an authentic life now.
Maybe this is what it all comes back to. Snowboarding, snow, gender. The expression and exploration of gender through sport, my bridge between girls, boys, and the in between. In the dead of winter, the space between the cold that saps the breath, is when I’m most alive. Hauling heavy gear and feeling my thighs burn with power and feeling as if I had the musculature of a male is when I’m happiest.
Of course there are still ups and downs. Mostly downs it seems, and the road to full recovery it still long; I expect it’ll take another year for life to return tio normal. But the highs now have reached “normal” highs and the lows are fewer and less foggy. There is still lots, I wouldn’t lie, but it really only takes a moment of hope to turn spark into flame.
And thank you, writing, for always being there. Even when anxiety and depression convinces me that I lack the ability to wordsmith, I am ever surprised by your resiliency and sly way of finding me again.