This weekend, eleven people were murdered in a Pittsburgh synagogue. My brain is still processing everything that has happened. Maybe there are no words anymore. Maybe there never will be. What do you say when you're starting to lose count of the number of times you've had to check to make sure your friends are alive? Welcome to Trump's America.
It's hard to balance my emotions right now. The weight of this tragedy, this administration's persistence in denying the existence and rights of trans people, and the emboldening of hate groups around the country have drawn my attention away from some very positive things going on in my life. As difficult as it is, I want to focus on those things for a moment.
Last week, on my mother's birthday, I had my top surgery consult with Dr. Ramineni in D.C. The process was almost effortless, and the entire staff couldn't have been more professional. I walked out with a surgery date. All I need to do is submit my letter. Here's the interesting part. Throughout the process, I've felt relatively subdued. I know that I am excited, but it's definitely not showing through. Maybe I'm worried that something will happen to alter my plans. Or maybe it's just been so long--so overdue--that it just needs to happen like any other medical procedure. Maybe I'm just ready. Ready to take my final step toward living my truth. Ready to feel the sun on my skin in the summer. Ready to see myself for what will feel like the first time, I'm sure. I don't think it will fully sink in until that day, or until I see the final result. The emotions will come in time. Knowing me, they'll hit me all at once.
I've talked with two potential grad school mentors on opposite sides of the country, and both conversations went exceedingly well. The researcher at UMD wants me to come up for a visit to the lab after I submit my application. I finally feel like I'm moving forward with my career plans, and I do have a good feeling about at least one program. I'm worried about the financial burden of taking a drastic cut in pay to attend school again, but I know that will be temporary.
I'm 30 years old, and I decided to learn something new. I started learning to tap, and after four classes, there are some things I can do up to speed with everyone else, and many of these people have been doing this their whole lives. I'm still a beginner, clearly. But I've learned a hell of a lot in a short amount of time, and my focus has increased overall. I'm doing more. I'm getting more done in general, and I'm slowly getting better at regulating my emotions. I've been on the edge recently, contemplating whether I should return to the hospital almost daily. The only reason I hadn't? Grad school applications and those phone calls. I needed to make it at least that far. Now, I can take a break from work to tap for 20 or 30 minutes, feeling refocused and energized afterwards. I want to see how far I can get. However, the class is shifting to jazz for the next month, so it looks like I'll be on my own for the most part, at least for a little while. If I had the extra money, I'd pay for private lessons. I expected to enjoy it, but I've fallen in love with it, and I really want to get better.
All of this has happened within this past year, and I think that's something to be thankful for. Right now, I'm also thankful that my brother is alive. He was in an accident last night and had to have surgery this afternoon. With all the plates, screws, and bone grafts, I'm worried that he may not have full function in his wrist/hand ever again, but it looks like he's going to be okay for the most part. I'll know more tomorrow.
I feel like I'm still trying to synthesize everything that's been going on. I still sort of feel like I'm struggling to keep my head above water, but it's manageable right now. Taking this break from performing to focus on school and my own life has helped, and it's given me the opportunity to plan some really awesome numbers for my comeback after surgery.