Tuesday, December 09, 2008

9th December 2008

I try to start each day practising a little yoga.

The first posture is always tadasana: the Mountain posture. I understand this as being about standing in a firm and harmonious way.

You start at the soles of the feet: observe how your weight is distributed, how the toes are. Try to spread out the toes and see what happens when you try to spread the weight evenly.

Then the ankle; lower legs, knees; upper legs; hips and thighs...

Last Thursday I was aware from the moment I began of pain in my right hip. When I became aware of the soles of my feet, it felt as if my feet were somehow twistedly touching the ground. My ankles sagging somehow. A kind of kink in the knees. Intense pain in both hips.

It felt as if it was impossible just to stand in the world.

It was like an extreme physical manifestation of the difficulty of being a transsexual: the difficulty of being in my body.

A dear friend had offered me an extra massage: and somehow thinking of her kindness, which touched me deeply, triggered an extraordinary sequence of what felt like memories.

The time just after I was born. My mother had had three boys, and she badly wanted a girl. Just before me, she had had a late miscarriage. And the dead baby was a girl. I had been conceived straight afterwards: while she and my dad were still full of grief.

So when she became pregnant with me, it was as if I felt her hope and excitement. The risks she ran - she was past normal childbearing age for those days, her last babies had been twins. The pregnancy was not easy: I think she felt much anxiety and fear. But she knew I was a girl.

And then, when I was born a boy, I seemed to feel the intensity of her disappointment. And my dad's disappointment, too.

She knew she could never have another child.

But it was also as if I knew their determination to love me as a boy and their determination to do everything in their power to make sure I grew up a boy. And was loved and happy.

The intensity of their effort... I was awed by it.

And I could see how I tried everything to be that boy, that normal boy they so deeply wanted me to be.

And of course I could also see how that ended in failure. It was like surveying an immense landscape of futility and sadness.

And somehow all the good things that came out of that effort, even if from a certain point of view it was a failure.. Susie and me and our love for each other, our beautiful wonderful loving daughters, my existence as a writer... all these good and wonderful things only seemed to intensify my sorrow.

I think I cried most of that morning. In the deepest grief and distress.

And noticed that evening how much freer were my movements... how my knees and right hip no longer gave me pain.

And that's still true: provided I stay aware, allow my hips to sway, and keep my knees unlocked.

Life, I keep thinking, is just so great a miracle.


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