The primary difference this year is that I will not set specific targets. I do not intend to actually reach an end point with either of my focuses for the year. I wish only to improve in certain parts of my life, not to reach any particular milestone. The other change is that I am no longer including gender issues as part of my quest, and this is for two reasons. The first is that I am on a course, and the momentum is already there. I do not need to push toward an end game – I feel that I will achieve those particular goals already (YAY!!!). The other reason I am not focusing on gender issues is that my gender is not the source of my unhappiness.
Sit down, please do not panic. There are no broad political or philosophical statements happening here. No one needs to cry heresy or blow up the blogosphere with even more trans-political drama. I am not suggesting that correcting my gender is unnecessary; on the contrary, I have to do it. I am saying that if I could have those operations and make the final switch tomorrow, I would still be the same unhappy person; I would just be an unhappy person in the correct body. Knowing that I will achieve my gender goal, I am free to focus on my mental / emotional wellbeing in the rest of my life. After all, what is the point of reaching my goal if I cannot be happy when I get there?
There are two issues that I feel a need to work on this year. I am not sure which is the larger or more difficult to address, but each adds a fair amount of negative energy to my life. In fact, I believe they are two of the major sources of my unhappiness. One problem I see in myself is that I carry a lot of regrets. I spend significant amounts of time looking back over my life, analyzing, considering, and lamenting the various events in time and mistakes I have made. 2012 Focus #1: I want to work on looking back less – living in the present and toward the future. The other issue will be a little more difficult, I think.
I have always been a very repressed person, and I think it is a lot of what drives both my terrible mood swings and my anger issues. I bottle things up. When something bothers me, rather than address it and risk an uncomfortable situation (and my own relief), I hold onto the emotion and let whatever issue caused it slip away. The problem is the feelings never slip away. I constantly carry with me a well of pent up emotions and hurt. Those feelings build with each new event, until all the negativity bursts out of me in fits of anger and tears. The worst part is that the various events are usually minor, and ultimately so too is the issue that tips the scale; but by the time the balloon pops, I have the emotions from countless previous issues that pile onto the one that finally pushes me to act on my feelings. The result is ugly… and often ridiculous. Not to mention carrying all that negative emotion around is just depressing, and it shows.
So, (drum roll please) 2012 Focus #2: I need to stop carrying an emotional cache. Rather than concern myself with appearing unreasonable or being a bitch, I simply need to express the emotions that occur when they occur. I need to stream my response to life, not buffer it. I started working on this yesterday, and I quickly realized that I have a bit of a well to drain before I get it right and can express myself openly and appropriately in a moment. Right now, my intensity level is still a little off pace with the nature of events that upset me. The molehills did not quite become mountains, but they certainly would house some big moles! Regardless, it is progress. I do not think I will get it perfect, and I am not going to try. I just want to do a better job of letting go of the things that upset me, and I think that starts with not trying to contain the emotions those events create.
There you have it, my plan for the New Year – leave the past in the past and my cards on the table. No looking back, and no holding back. Let it go, and let it fly. Weigh anchor and weigh in. I think you get the idea.