A Patronus for 2011 – Let’s Get It!
Jan 03, 2011
You know, it isn’t often I have a year like 2010. It was a year in which I truly took
responsibility for myself. Sure, my
parents bailed me out a couple times, I’m not saying I didn’t need help, but I
clothed and fed myself, paid my bills, found work, and braved a new city on my
own. In a lot of ways, 2010 was the
first true year of my adulthood and I’m left with this feeling of pride that’s
carrying me into 2011. It’s got me
excited about the next 12 months for once.
I can’t wait to get started on¦I
don’t even know what! My friend Mike
sent me a text at midnight with what has quickly become my phrase for the year: Let’s Get It.
Enough with resolutions and timetables, I’m just going to go out and get
it this year, simple as that.
As productive as 2010 was for me, it was also filled with
craziness. I drove across the country in
the longest four days of my life. I was out of work for a month, searching in a
barren market. I held a job as a
messenger/driver when I could count the number of times I’d been on a
Californian freeway on one hand. I
totaled my car, lost my job for which I needed my car, was out of work another
month, got jumped for my phone and even managed to fit in a mild head injury
just as 2010 was puttering out last week.
But as I reflected on the closing year, I could only see good things.
It’s really just this feeling of hope I have. I went home and I saw friends I hadn’t seen
in a year. One year isn’t enough for
everything to change, but everyone had made small changes, changed jobs, got
new cars, boyfriends, girlfriends, what have you, but they were there, and
everywhere I went, there was this familiarity and ease. Of course, that made me think about next year
and all the things that wouldn’t be the same come Christmas 2011, but somehow,
I couldn’t feel sad about that. Sure, I
felt weird that maybe some people wouldn’t be in town next time, but I just couldn’t
feel sad about change. I’d always feared
it before, but having been affected so positively by it this past year, I had
suddenly become its number-one fan.
I feel like change is the key to my hope. Every little step for me makes me feel like
things could get so much better. I’ve
been eating right and working out and now I feel more at home in my own
skin. It’s not like when I was 14 and
overweight and my doctor told me to lose a clean 50 pronto. This was just me treating myself right and
every day I’ve done that I’ve felt good.
I’ve gotten obsessed with superfoods and I challenge myself to not only
eat well, but eat the best I possibly can, like it’s some sort of game. I’ve also decided to treat myself right when
it comes to clothes and style. Somehow,
because I was so broke this year, I’d forgotten that good fashion isn’t about
looking good for other people, it’s about feeling good about yourself. I’d stopped feeling good about my clothes, or
even caring about them. I was trying
desperately to save up for my top surgery, but something always derailed me,
some big expense I just couldn’t get around.
So I saved penny after penny in an uphill battle to reach ten grand when
I realized I was going about it all wrong.
Fashion is confidence, confidence is me being my best, my best equals
good writing, good writing gets bought, I get paid, I pay for the surgery with
money from doing something I love.
That’s how I’m going to do this.
I’m going to do it as my best self, kicking loads of A in an arena of my
I made great strides and big changes in terms of my
transition this year, but perhaps the biggest, and the one that gave me the
most hope, happened just days ago. I had
written my aunt to ask her if she had told her family (a husband and two
daughters, ages 11 and 6) that I was transgendered. She’d known for a year, but I knew she was
still uncomfortable with it herself.
With the trip nearing, I decided to write her a very blunt letter. I love my aunt, she helped raise me and she’s
always been an integral part of our family unit, but she is, in some ways,
old-fashioned and traditional, and I was not sure what her reaction would
be. She wrote back and said she hadn’t
done it, but she would. She would be
straightforward with the kids, she said.
I kept thinking, half because I believed it and half because I had to
believe it to go on, that the kids would actually take to it better than many
adults. Kids are resilient and far more
attuned to what’s going on than people give them credit for. Well, when they pulled up to the house for
their visit, I was having a mild heart attack.
Completely freaking, I told myself I was having an out-of-body
experience and that it would all be over soon.
My six-year-old cousin was very shy at first, hiding behind her mom and
then running to the other room. She
seemed very nervous, that made me nervous.
Then the older one came in. She
was pretty much normal, greeting me, perhaps a little shyly, but happily and I
felt a glimmer of hope for the day.
ended up being one of the best experiences I’ve had in terms of trans stuff. I watched as the younger one called me my
birth name and then corrected herself.
Corrected herself! She had no way
of knowing, but she had just become better and more mature than most of the
people I’ve encountered in the last four years.
And that spurred me on to be better, to shake my nerves off and act
normally, as I wanted to, as indeed the whole process of telling them was meant
to make me able to do. I had honestly
had days where I thought this would never happen, and here I was, making it a
this, inevitably, made me think of our beloved Harry Potter series. You see, hope is a funny thing. You can have endless amounts of joy, you can
be flying high when the going is good, but hope only comes around during the
struggle. It’s like the Patronus cutting
through the layers of Dementor mist. How
unfair it seems that one should have to conjure up something so powerful and
good when surrounded by such sadness and reality. But I kept my hope alive this year; I guarded
it like the last flickering candle when you’ve run out of matches. I steadied myself when I knew things were
rough and getting rougher. I kept the
memories of the good things. It has to
be something good enough, doesn’t it? It
has to be something real and potent, like that memory of happiness with his
parents that Harry had. I had my
accomplishments, moments when I surprised even myself, when I went beyond what
I thought possible. I thought back to
the one time that Harry was truly unable to conjure a Patronus. I’m not talking about when he forgot he was
still wearing the Horcrux during the first half of Hallows, but at the final battle, when Ron, Hermione and Harry run
out onto the grounds. Hagrid has just
been taken away by spiders and there are giants battling on the grounds of
Hogwarts. “A dull hopelessness was
spreading through him. Fred was gone,
and Hagrid was surely dying or already dead; how many more lay dead that he did
not yet know about; he felt as though his soul had already left his body¦he
almost welcomed the oncoming oblivion, the promise of nothing, of no feeling¦” How seductive it can be to dwell and focus
your energy on the certainty of all that’s gone wrong. To hope is to dare. “We’re all still here, we’re still fighting’
Luna says. There’s no guarantee that
things will get better, but that makes it all the more brave to believe that
they can. And so, 2011, I welcome you¦and
do what you will. Because there’s only one
thing on my mind this year, going out and getting it, and that’s what I intend