Good Omens

Living a genderqueer life

Month: September, 2013

Just miss the ground

I’ve started going to a psychotherapist once a week. With everything that happened when I had a chance to rest, I finally decided it would be great to fix the inside of my head. And so I’ve spent three quarters of an hour every Friday afternoon sitting in a suitably comfy chair in South Helsinki, reaching back in time.

There’s a memory I found on one of these Fridays, one that hasn’t left me alone since. I’m a child of four, maybe five, we live in a house on a hill, and our back yard is the side of the hill, growing trees, oaks maybe, or maples. And I’m running down the hill, sure-footed, not afraid of falling and hurting myself. Just running.

When I found this memory, one of living so totally in the present, so long ago – the same started to become easier for me again. With my attention completely centered on the here-and-now, letting go of everything else has become like flying in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker series: you just have to throw yourself at the ground and miss. It’s not something to do – rather, “[y]ou have to have your attention suddenly distracted by something else when you’re halfway there, so that you are no longer thinking about falling, or about the ground, or about how much it’s going to hurt if you fail to miss it.”

There have been more and more of these ground-missing moments since I found the memory. Cycling to school on a crisp autumn morning, crossing the Ilmala railway yard with the scent of tar and iron of the brigde filling my nose; in the folk dance lesson, with R leading and me following, she’s become so good at it since we last danced together; in the bass practice room at school, I’m starting my journey toward learning archaic music, minimalist and literally long play, ten minutes to the four-bar tune and the music is starting to take control instead of me.

With these moments, now, come tears; and like Sting sings, “I’m so happy I can’t stop crying.”

(I’m so happy that) Every teardrop isn’t a waterfall

Before this morning, I don’t remember the last time I cried. I mean, cried without a specific situation. I always cry at weddings and funerals. (And in April this year, I did cry one night, when I’d had two beers and sauna’d for hours, and there was somebody there that I trust.)

I cried from shock a few years ago, after a (not serious) car crash that the other party blamed on me, and I couldn’t say I knew it was their fault. I remember crying when I was maybe ten, it was in a school break, a child from a parallel class pushed me into a staircase railing so my teeth hit the iron. When I was eight, a new kid came to our class; during lunch, I had the habit of saying a little prayer before starting to eat. The new kid noticed it and said loudly, “So you’re some kind of believer?” And I knew I couldn’t pray in public any more, and after school, I may have cried, and I certainly stopped praying at all. I think I cried a lot as a kid, when I was lost or hurt. What happened then?

This and last year have been a time of my becoming aware of myself. Of gender things and sexuality things, and those are what this blog was to be about when I began it nearly a year ago. But also of weaknesses and limitations, of strengths, and of things that make me happy. This summer, I found that I couldn’t cry. I would get to a point where I wanted nothing more than to let go, but even when I thought of it, I pulled back. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t not control myself. It’s maybe two months since I realized this.

And, like so often, with becoming aware of the problem, the solution is already there. When I let myself admit it, the first step was taken. Not very long after, there started to be tears. Just a few, with no apparent reason. When I noticed them, I tried to loosen my control and still couldn’t.

When I first realized that it’s hard for me to let go, I started hoping for a storm of cleansing tears, like the climax of a film where the protagonist finally is freed from themself. I waited for it, tried to get my thoughts in a shape that could fit such a change… And while I was waiting, slowly, the tears fell, a couple of them at a time. One day, I found the corners of my mouth twitching downward, then staying there for minutes at a time; last week I sat on a bus on the way home looking like a sad smiley without knowing it, and that was good, I wouldn’t have dared to if I had. I had rediscovered an expression I had forgotten even existed.

On a discussion forum I read every now and then, there’s a quote in somebody’s signature: A water drop hollows a stone. I’d thought of it as a good reminder to work steadily at whatever I do. Now, I have another meaning for it.