Summertime in Antarctica

“Summertime, time, time,
Child, the living’s easy.
Fish are jumping out
And the cotton, Lord,
Cotton’s high, Lord, so high.

One of these mornings
You’re gonna rise, rise up singing,
You’re gonna spread your wings,
Child, and take, take to the sky,
Lord, the sky.”

Janis Joplin (Gershwin)


Ah, summertime…. The midway point in the year. The time to relax, take stock of the progress we made on our New Year’s resolutions, and maybe a bit of relaxation. You do remember the New Year’s resolutions you made….. As for the relaxation part, maybe enjoy some of the mini-bucket list stuff you came up with for the year. Not the life-long bucket list, just the one for this year. The ‘this year I wanna…’ one’s like going to the beach, or starting some new project. Not the ‘I want to visit Antarctica’ one.

The last thing you would want to do is rush a trip to Antarctica. There is a lot of preparation required for that one. Research the gear you will need. Spend countless hours in a walk in freezer. That one is going to take a lot of convincing of the local meat packing house I think. But, then again, anything worth doing, is doing right. And to do it right, you need to educate yourself and take things step by step. You know the saying, ‘nine women can’t have a baby in one month’.

And it is also true with our daily lives; the one’s we churn through starting each morning. Whether it be going to school to learn something to prepare us for our life’s career and vocation, or actually being the active part of that career or vocation. All things need to be done step by step, in a timely and orderly fashion. Otherwise, the recipe will be a disaster, never to be tried again.

I mean, you surely wouldn’t show up in Antarctica in a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and flip-flops any more than you show up at a formal social event in your bathrobe. You’d do what is appropriate for the occasion and know ahead of time what to expect. Shouldn’t the same be said for all aspects of your transition?

Wouldn’t you learn all you can, from every source you can get your hands on? That was my thinking when I started many years ago. Wow, that sounded ‘interesting’. I remember when I would have said ‘last year’, or a ‘couple of years’, or even a ‘few years’; but time does fly when you’re having fun. Anyway, I remember when I started; I sat and thought about things I didn’t know, that I knew I needed to know. And that process begat finding even more things that I didn’t know about.

And then I started hunting for the answers to all of those questions. And once I had an ample supply of answers, I figured I’d put them all into some kind of sequence. I mean, you don’t start putting a roof on until the walls are up. So, off I went in putting things in a nice line. And that in itself brought up even more questions and learning.

Then just as my ‘line’ was in place, it dawned on me that I couldn’t do each of these things one day after another. Some of them took more time than others, and some of them required more time in between the next one. So the timeframe kept getting longer. But I never lost sight of what I had decided was the end goal. The end goal of what I decided I would be okay with. Not the perfect end goal, or an end goal that mimicked someone else’s; but mine. All mine. Me.

Once I was armed with all this information, and a plan, it was off to the races. Well, sort of. I was fully aware that there would probably be some derailments along the way. But knowing those were not only possible, but likely, allowed me to do some planning ahead of time in order to have an idea of how I would address things to get back on track. Did it take me longer in the end? Yes it did; but I knew and expected it, so I was prepared.

And in the end, here I sit, no not in Antarctica listening to Janis Joplin singing ‘Summertime’; but somewhere far better. In my own skin, being comfortable and confident in the ‘me’ that all that work got me. And this strategy works across the board, even if you do want to be sitting in Antarctica listening to Janis Joplin singing ‘Summertime’.


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Michelle Lawson

Well as for the physical 'me'; I had an orchiectomey in October of 2019 and my BA in Oct of 2021. Along with that, will be a change to all of my identification; name changes and gender markers. As for the rest of the 'what makes Michelle tick', come visit the Chat Rooms, and the Forums. As a Manager on TGH, I help to make sure your experiences here are safe, happy, supportive, and educational. You are here to grow and thrive, and we are here to nurture that growth. I look forward each day to helping to keep TGH the de facto standard for support in the transgender community. I look forward to chatting with you all, and reading through what you all post. And if you come across a transgender friendly or supportive place, drop me a line so we can figure out how to add it to our Local Places.

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Elli Snow
Elli Snow(@ellilynn)
8 months ago

In spite of the fact you kind of cheated to get me here and read your post, I have to agree with everything. I spent several years in therapy learning to deal with depression, and learned that I have two very strong genetic issues, an unusual type of bi-polar and Seasonal Affective Disorder. After therapy, I spent many more years auditing psychology classes and reading everything I could to learn to control these diseases without using medication. It was all that other research and learning about myself that taught me the biggest trigger to the other issues was dysphoria, because… Read more »

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