But it occurred to me just how very much I have to be thankful for, in this year 2005.
My little son, Andrew, he's now 4, happy and healthy. Given the circumstances, his existence is miraculous.
My partner, my best friend, has been so suportive, even though this has probably been tougher on her than it's been on me. As one classmate put it :
at the same time i admire Carmel for not having put a steak knife into you. not sure mine would be quite so broad minded.The marriage vows didn't cover this kind of stuff, and it would be unreasonable to expect us to remain together. We're taking it one day at a time. Maybe the unreasonable will happen, though the odds are against it. In any case, we'll always be tbe very best of girlfriends, and that's far more than most TS women have.
My unplanned and unexpected Transition : The best thing that's happened to me in my life, an impossible dream coming true. Yes, it's dramatically inconvenient, but only someone who's TS can appreciate just how awful being in the wrong gendered body can be. I didn't, until I got a small taste of normality. Nearly everyone takes fitting comfortably in their body for granted, that's something I never will.
By far the most likely set of explanations for what happened to me would have been a number of neoplasms, all fatal and pretty quickly too. I lucked out - so far.
The immense support I've had from various forums and mailing lists, some of the greatest support coming from people with far greater problems than my own. Their courage and kindness has been beyond my belief.
The immense support I've had too from my friends, and from the readership of this blog. That includes some very generous donations by a number of people. I was hoping for maybe $4 here, $5 there, but I've been getting $40 here, $50 there. This has made a significant impact on my lifestyle, and I thank you all. I must confess though that not all of it will be used for medical bills. Some I've already given to people who need it far more than I do. Given the generosity shown by strangers, my conscience couldn't let me keep it all when others like me are quite literally going hungry. And I'm no plaster saint : I've kept a fair chunk for my own bills.
I'm Thankful that, unlike so many TS women, I'm not estranged from my family and children. I don't have to spend my holidays cold and lonely, hoping for a telephone call to at least ask if I'm alive, and getting nothing but an answering machine if I call those I love.
I'm thankful that I've been given the opportunity to help a few others like me, especially those too young to have any money or power, and with parents whose religious beliefs conflict with medical science. Or those "secondary" transsexuals like myself who have had families, lives of responsibility and duty, and find themselves unable to continue, no matter how much they want to. Their only chance of being a functional parent is to transition, otherwise it's the grave or permanent institutionalisation. The Guilt is overwhelming, and many can't take it : unless helped, they fall by the wayside, leaving their children orphans. I've taken so very much, but even a small contribution back to the common pot makes me feel a little less endebted. Besides which, it's not about me, it's about them. It doesn't take much to give me a sense of smug self-satisfaction, and if I was half the woman I'd like to think I am, I'd be doing twice as much. Not false modesty, truth, alas.
So every time I think about how hard things are, I am reminded of just how lucky I've been. And I give thanks.