With the first few days of 2021 passing by, conversation and publications around New year’s resolutions will be doing the rounds. I seem to recall a friend saying that if something is important to you, why wait? But, sometimes life isn’t like that and the ritual of turning a new calendar page may be the prompt to make someone reflect and think of the year ahead. Maybe it’s like the feeling of the newly started exercise book: nothing but a clean, soft page of empty paper waiting to be filled. That feeling of a new start… usually followed by the joyful (!) return to work, but let’s not spoilt things eh? 😉
Goals with self care
I would, if it’s okay, like to suggest a note of self care around any resolution. Specifically, try not to make it all or nothing. For example, some folk take January as a chance to go veggie (or vegan) or go dry by staying off the pop. Can I add that it’s okay to slip up but keep walking towards your goal? One bacon sarnie or a swift half after a tough day at work doesn’t, IMO, wreck the hard work you have put in. Just put it down to something that happened and take the whole thing one day at a time. Just because you didn’t manage a 100%, well, dare I say – with kindness, so what? If your goal was to, say, give up chocolate for a month, but you snaffled a bar one day, that’s okay. You still managed it for the rest of the time.
So, maybe aiming to do something less (or more) rather than a total commitment would be kinder to yourself. The vagueness of drinking less booze, eating veggie/vegan in general, or reducing fast fashion purchases. Not absolutes, but perhaps more achievable because of that. Feel free to throw in significantly or as best I can if that helps.
What I mean is, by doing something, you are trying. If you are trying, that’s a lot better than doing nothing. Even if you miss or slip up, you are still working your way towards your goal.
I think of this when a new jogger huffs by me while I’m letting the hounds sniff the grass. Yes, the runner may not be fast, but they’re faster than I am and certainly more energetic than the person who chooses not to walk or run at all. Maybe they will be faster tomorrow, maybe they are happy now: what matters is that they’re trying. IMO, it doesn’t matter if they run once a week, once a month, or daily – just so long as they’re doing what works for them to reach their goal.
Also, be wary of any activity that leads you into oh, to do this, you’ll need items X, Y, and Z. I’ve heard friends talk about not starting a new diet or exercise pattern because they’re are ordering new clothing, shoes, or gadgets. Maybe, just start with what you have and make it about your progress compared to where you were, rather than what you had to buy. Yes, if you don’t have a bike, it’s going to be tricky to take up cycling 🙂 Yet, will a second hand bike give you a enough to get going, rather than spending loads on something you are not yet sure of?
How does any of this apply to being trans? Well, second hand shops or online stores (like Depop, Vinted, eBay, etc) can be an inexpensive way to build up a wardrobe. Aiming to get items you can mix and match means you can build up a series of outfits without having to break the bank.
What about giving up on giving up?
About this time of year, the inbox for Nottingham Chameleons starts to pick up with new folk looking to explore who they are. With that in mind – and at the risk of sounding like temptation 😉 – when it comes to being trans, what about giving up on giving up?
Yes, I know that sounds like a cheap gag, but that aside, the constant self checking and fighting yourself can be wearing: incredibly so, perhaps.
I am not saying you should burst fabulously from the wardrobe singing I Am Who I Am – although if you do, I’d love to see the video 🙂
What I’m saying is, if you can, start to accept that being trans or gender nonconforming is just an aspect of who you are. Yes, it adds to you as a person, but it doesn’t define you completely. Certainly no more than being retired, a cyclist, a parent, a teen, unemployed, a writer: there’s so much about us that makes us, us, and that’s all good.
It’s okay not to have a label. It’s okay to not know where this might take you. It’s okay to take things at your own pace, stopping and starting in a way that works for you. You don’t need to compete with anyone, perhaps not even yourself. Just do what feels right, be kind to yourself, and try to enjoy the journey as you learn to accept who you are.