Eighteen Minutes & Eighteen Seconds

During the course of having gone (very) wide with my story, I have met (mostly virtually) many people along the way.  I get emails from strangers nearly every day; some are transgender themselves, others are attempting to parent a transgender child and others still are just compassionate human beings (and some are all three!)  For their own particular reason, they are interested in the evolution of Jessie and the trials and tribulations inherent in such a dramatic transition.  I like to lend an ear, offer support and remind them of the mantra that I (try desperately to) adhere to: “you can do this.”

Today I received the following email from LNB, the parent of three children, one of whom simply doesn’t fit into any gender clearly:

I imagine you may have already seen this TED video, but if not, I am privileged to be the first to share it with you!

http://www.ted.com/talks/io_tillett_wright_fifty_shades_of_gay.html?source=email#.UQqg7s65UaJ.email

In fact, I had not seen it, although vaguely recall having heard about this incredible story.  I then spent 18 minutes and 18 seconds watching it, as enraptured as I’ve ever been while watching anything and feeling enormous appreciation at her having sent it my way.

This is a wild adventure.  Just today, I was speaking with a mother from my neighborhood that looked vaguely familiar as our children had gone to the same elementary school although none in the same grade.  She knew Harrison but asked me about “my other children” which, as it invariable does, lead to the question as to whether it was a boy or a girl.  (Aside: I hate this question.  I feel that no matter how I answer I am in some way lying…) Since she had been at the same school, I assumed she knew the story and introduced myself as the mother of the transgender kid at school.  After an awkward pause she said, (and I am not making this up) “how did that happen?”  In a moment of quick wit (and gratitude that said wit did not elude me at that moment) I responded, “Just lucky.”

I want her to watch this video.  I want everyone to watch this video.  I actually think that video should be somehow required watching for anyone who ever deals with kids.  Or adults.  Or anyone in the human race.

Find a time that you have 18 minutes and 18 seconds to devote to sitting in front of your computer screen or iPad or Kindle or Smartphone or  any other electronic device on which you can see it.  Watch it.  I dare you not to be moved, provoked and/or want to watch it again.  Go ahead.  Watch it now.  Let me know what you think. I will tell you what I think: fabulous.

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Bump In The Road?

We’ve all had them: those conversations with our children in the car that start out simply enough and invariably result in a far more loaded thought process than anticipated or, frankly, desired.  You know, like when your six-year-old asks you from the booster seat how babies are made.  Or when your eight year old learns the word “asshole” as you spew it at the driver of the car that cut you off.  Stuck in the tight quarters that are one’s car, uncomfortable, unplanned and perhaps undesired follow-through on said queries is a sure bet.

Such was the situation I found myself in earlier this afternoon whilst I was chauffeuring Jessie to her art lesson which, while totally fabulous, is located in the most headache inducing part of town you could possibly imagine.  Add to that the fact that I had worked all morning, rushed to get her at school and had to further hurry to make it to an appointment I had, it is fair to say that I was not quite in the mood for anything heavy. I had dutifully greeted her at school with a snack and a bottle of chocolate milk and hoped that she would chatter about the events of the day or maybe even her excitement for her lesson.  At first, all was going to plan.  She sucked down the milk, turned her nose up at the (yummy, delicious, fresh from the oven) chocolate chip bagel I lovingly brought her and chastised me for not remembering that it was me, not her, who likes them (yeah, I ate it…don’t judge me).  We chatted a bit about the traffic and how insanely cold it was.  All was fine.  Until, as things go in these parts, they weren’t.

“Do I look like a girl?” she asked, very matter-of-factly,  with no bravado or particular intensity.  Really?  Today?  The same day that I happened to  look at you and think to myself that you looked more like a boy than you had just last week?  (I was quite sure I hadn’t said it aloud, but I will admit to wondering if perhaps I had.) I am not sure what it was about her appearance that felt so, well, masculine.  She was in a simple outfit: jeans, sneakers and a white Disney World hoodie (which, admittedly, was purchased for George upon getting caught in a torrential downpour several years ago).  She had put particular care into her hair this morning, rising early to flat-iron it to within an inch of its life resulting in a coiffure reminiscent of the Japanese straightening technique favored by curly tops like myself.  (Note: Jessie’s hair is not curly.) Yeah, one would think that would “feminize” her, but alas, it seems to have yielded the opposite result.  Bump.

bump

As we were side by side in the car, sitting in traffic, there was little to distract from the question.  I was forced into an honest answer: “sometimes you look very much like a girl, other times you look more like a boy” I replied.  No sooner were the words out of my mouth than I wished I could have suctioned them back in.  I wanted to be honest, but not mean.  I wanted to support and protect her.  I wanted to turn the radio to top volume to drown out any further conversation.  Damn, can nothing be easy?

Not content to leave well enough alone (or not quite well enough, as the case may be) she inquired as to a time when she looked particularly “girlish”.  That was easy.  Just a week or so ago she was in an adorable (age appropriate) dress, her hair blown out (by me) with the bangs pulled back in an assemblage of about fifteen bobby pins, her behavior demur.  She was all girl.   But I could just as easily point out a decidedly less feminine presentation when she was in Levi’s, a plain navy zip front sweatshirt, her hair a hot mess of knots, crooked parts (yes, there were more than one) and about two days past the point where it should have been washed.  I am willing to bet that there were some farts thrown in for good measure, too.

It is all okay, though.  It is all part of this ever-increasing foray into gender fluidity.  And, I will admit, it all throws me a little off kilter.  Just when I stop stumbling over the pronouns and calling her Jessie, she oozes into another sphere of gender and leaves me scratching my head.  Just when I think, “I’ve got this” I start to wonder if I really do.  And just when I think we are on a straight trajectory, I am reminded that we definitely are not.

“Do I look like a girl” she asked.  I am beginning to think that there is no correct answer to that question.  Bump.

Congratulations! It’s a ….

Damn if it didn’t happen again.  There I was, preparing to cheer Harrison on at his swim meet (during which he collected two first place finishes) when another mom and I struck up a conversation.  It began when I noticed the opposing team’s swim caps and questioned aloud which “W” team we were swimming against as there are two “W” towns nearby.  The woman sitting next to me clarified for me, as she was the mom of a swimmer from said “W” town.  As tends to happen (to me, in particular) in situations such as this, we began to chat: about swimming, the time commitment, the pros of swimming (there are no cons) and whether my son was planning on swimming at college (undecided).

Since the only captivating part of any swim meet are the races that your child is in, there is plenty of downtime during which all that happens is you become acutely aware of not only how damned hot it is in the pool area but also the probability that your hair is curling from the humidity.  As such, it is always a bonus to be seated next to someone who is not face down in their iPhone or wrapped up in whatever is on their Kindle.  (Disclosure: I did have my Kindle with me on the off-chance that there was no one to chat with.)

“W” mom and I were discussing how kids who swim tend to be a nice group and she, for some reason that I cannot recall, mentioned something about the Temple they belong to. (Random, I know.) Nothing like handing me an instant opening for a conversation!  We played a little Jewish geography (for the uninformed, this is the Semitic version of “Six Degrees of Separation.”  Put any two or more Jewish people together and they are guaranteed to know folks in common.  In fact, there is a great likelihood that you are somehow related or used to be related or some such.)  We went back and forth, establishing a few commonalities and then came a pause.  It was for no reason, really, just a lull in the conversation…or one of our kids was in the pool.

After our respective cheering duties had passed, she turned to me and asked if Harrison was my only child.  I knew right then what was coming next; by all accounts a fair and reasonable question: “is your other child a boy or a girl?”  Damn.  Saw it coming, but still, over a year into the process, I never quite know how to answer.  I gave birth to and saw through for the first ten years, two boys.  I’ve been through two circumcisions, on the receiving end (more than once) of a shower of urine from the changing table, bought countless superman underpants and boxer shorts and been informed by both of my children of the joys of being able to pee outside.  Despite the year of longer hair, ear piercings and shoe shopping, I still hesitate to say I have a daughter.

stork

I am aware that admitting this is probably going to sound as though I am not on-board. (I am.)  Or perhaps it will come across as my being mean. (I’m not.) It may even compel some of you to no longer “admire” my approach to parenting my transgender child. (Up to you.) I get that.  But I, perhaps more importantly, appreciate the need to be honest not only with the general you, but with myself.  While I do not think of Jessie as my daughter, I don’t think of her as my son, either.  I just think of her as my child; my second born, my wonderful, quirky, artistic, creative, hysterically funny and challenging child.  Whether she is my son or my daughter matters little.  What matters more is that I know how she ticks.  I know that there is no point in buying her decent mittens as she is sure to lose them somewhere between the kitchen and the car.  I know that unless I viciously and repeatedly flush the toilet in the bathroom, she isn’t going to get out of the shower until she has been asked a minimum of seven times.   I know that she needs a snack in the car on the ride home from school – not when she arrives at the house.  I know that she is capable of making me laugh and cry within the same hour.  And I know that I wouldn’t trade her…most of the time.

When “W” mom posed her query, I smiled and said, “Well, I sort of have both” and went on to tell her the Reader’s Digest version of the George/Jessie transformation.  To her credit, she did not visibly react in any way.  She didn’t even look at me as though I had two heads.  Her response made it clear to me (having answered this question innumerable times over the past year) that this was not the first transgender kid she knew of.  With nary a pause she remarked that she knew of a kid at her temple, although hesitated as to whether they were MtF (male to female) or FtM (female to male, duh).  I, in turn, knowing which Temple and, likewise, knowing many other parents of transgender kids, knew precisely who she was referring to and finished her thinking for her by telling her the child was FtM and doing great.  Now there’s a round of Jewish geography that I am fairly certain my parents never had!

I truly appreciated not only the ease with which she accepted my disclosure, but also the fact that this time around, another family paved the way for me.*  I have been doing plenty of my own paving which, truthfully, is difficult, isolating work.  This simple (and fair) question, which has, historically, brought me not-quite-to-my-knees was just that much easier this time.  So, too, is watching Jessie walk out the door bedecked in head to toe pink, head held high, confidence squarely in place at a time when, honestly, her mother’s is not.  It’s a process for me and for my child(ren) – boys and girls alike.  I am wise enough to know that this exchange was more the exception than the rule and wise enough to appreciate it having happened.

So, the next time you meet someone and ask them about their children know that you might not get the answer you were expecting.  Trust me when I tell you…it isn’t the answer they were expecting to give, either.

*Thanks, JP

Yo, Dad

This past Friday marked the seventh anniversary of my father’s death.  It is never a particularly easy day; I miss my father terribly and daily, but am at total peace.  Before he died, he made sure to tell me (and my brothers) that “there was nothing that we said that we shouldn’t have and nothing we should have said that we didn’t”.  There were no old wounds left unhealed and never a question as to how he felt about me.  That is a gift.  It is one of the many reasons that he lives on so strongly for me and my family.

As a Facebook regular, I posted on Friday about his anniversary.  Here is what I wrote, exactly how it appeared:

How could it be seven years, dad? Your number remains in my phone despite having gotten three new phones since you’ve been gone. Your email is still in my contacts list despite your consistently responding to any email I sent with a phone call…immediately upon receiving the email. Harrison has your crazy long torso and silly short legs. Jessie has the same twinkle in his eye as you. And we all love and miss you. Every day.

Did you catch it?  Go back and read it again.  Yep: “twinkle in his eye”.  The mother of all typos.  Or was it?

Ask anyone who is ever in the company of a transgender person and they will admit to sometimes screwing up the pronouns.  We all do it, more so at the beginning of transition than later, but it always results in some degree of awkward.  I proofread my words before posting.  More than once.  Yet, somehow, I missed the “in his eyes” line.  More than once.   After it went up, I was out trying to get some errands taken care of (will they never end?) when my phone rang.  On the other end was an old friend, slightly frantic, calling to inform me of my error.  Damn.  I asked her to please post that I knew about the mistake, but was not going to be able to repair it for a few hours.  She did (thanks, Jen!) and I continued on my way, feeling even sadder: not only was it my father’s Yahrzeit, but I had also managed to screw up my kid’s gender marker.  Well done, Julie, bang up day.

I abandoned a few of the errands, arrived home sooner than planned and immediately edited the mistake, changing “his” eye to “her” eye. I instantly felt better (and took comfort in knowing that, by some miracle, Jessie has not yet cajoled me into allowing her a Facebook page so she would be none the wiser to my blunder) only to be knocked down a few pegs when I discovered that, despite making the correction (again, more than once) it didn’t take.  Assuming operator error, I just left well enough alone and opted to stop making myself crazy and move on hoping it would not be widely noticed.  (No such luck.  At least four people messaged me about it.)

And then, of course, I got to thinking about it.

My father never knew Jessie.  He knew (and adored) Georgie who, as it happens, was named for his own father.  He appreciated George’s mischievousness and was forever telling me not to worry about him and his antics…he was, after all, “all boy”.  (Yeah, I see the irony.)  My father was a calm, chivalrous man; one who many sought out for his advice which, more often than not, they followed.  He had a great sense of humor and worked tirelessly to ensure that I never lose mine.  He saw his young self in both my boys and assured me, at every turn, that they were both going to be great men some day.

Picture 1.14.13

No, he never knew Jessie, but he certainly knew George and George’s proclivity towards decidedly un-masculine play.  He knew of the Barbie collection strewn throughout my house (okay, and my car) and, despite being of a generation not quite as advanced in matters such as transgender, I know he would not have skipped a beat (well, in fairness, it is nearly impossible to be completely unfazed by such a proclamation, but his stumble would have been brief, his recovery quick) nor protested in any way George’s announcement of last year.  Of that I am sure.

I am equally sure that he would have had the hardest time of anyone getting the name and pronouns straight.  This reality has nothing to do with acceptance and everything to do with his history of screwing up names.  In fairness, we do have a lot of like-sounding names in the family: Rich, Rachel, Rebecca and Robbie not to mention June, Julie, Jill, Jack and George (I know it isn’t a J, but it sounds like it) and my poor father, with all his wisdom, just couldn’t keep them all straight.  He once called one of the Rs (at least I hope it was one of the Rs) “Ralph” and someone else (not sure if it was an R or a J…could have been an S) was relegated to being called “coat-rack.”  Random, I know, but true.  Likewise, he was forever referring to each and every one of my nieces (all four of them) as Julie.  (I believe this serves as further proof that I was his favorite child.)

So, with this rather fuzzy logic, I am concluding that my ‘typo” was less of a typo and more of a shot out to my dad.  The mistyped word is in no way a reflection of my support or belief in my kid.  It is simply a little piece of history, and my dad, rearing their heads.

Not:  The shot above is one of my very favorites.  My father was ill at the time, but the look of love in his eyes (along with the twinkle) is what defined him.  I have this proudly displayed on my refrigerator so I am sure to see it many, many (many) times each day.

Cameron Cole

You know how when you are  pregnant and it suddenly seems that everyone around you is, too?  Well, I have found that to be true about having a transgender child.  Okay, not everyone has or is a transgender kid, but it sure seems that it is far more prevalent than any of us (me, certainly) might have thought.  

Earlier today I received a Facebook message from a kid named Cameron.  He had gotten my name from (see if you can follow)his mother’s boyfriend’s sister who, as it happens, is a dear friend of mine from high school who, you guessed it, I was reunited with via the power of Facebook.  Cameron was reaching out to me having recently (as in today) officially come out to the world as transgender.  Below, following some of his own words,  is the video that he posted to share his story as well as a piece he wrote about his adventure (remember, I hate the word “journey”.)

At the conclusion of our first (there will be many more) chat I told him that I was pretty sure I loved him a little bit.  I think you will, too. 

(Note: I have made no changes, right down  to his note to me at the end.  Seriously, I dare you not to love this kid.)

 I’ve always been the same person. Yes, I admit, there are times where I’m not all there, but I am still me. I have discovered something about myself recently- something so incredibly obvious that I can’t believe I’m just seeing it now. I’m a guy. I always have been a guy. No, not physically, but mentally, no doubt. I was the line backer on the tackle football team as a child, and I played baseball instead of softball. I played ‘house’ and Barbies when I was younger, but I always claimed the role of the son or Ken. I preferred to be called ‘Nick’, and I could always out-throw the boys. I was attracted to girls at an extremely young age, and then fell into the ‘I’m-a-twelve-year-old-girl’ phase and pretended I never looked at girls that way. Now fast forward to Sophomore year. I cut most of my hair off and fashioned a Tegan and Sara look- pretty much a coming out statement in itself. I had my first over-dramatic girlfriend, got dumped, cheered, and moved on. I ended up throwing the label ‘lesbian’ on myself, as it seemed to be the closest fit to what I was experiencing at the time. From tomboy to masked preteen to lesbian, I thought I had found myself. Of course, high school is all about change. Life in general is, and that’s what brings us to the present. It’s so very strange how change and truth go together here. I’m revealing the truth by changing. I’m finally discovering who I am. So far, I’ve gathered that I’m a hopeless romantic trans guy, trying to make his way while helping others on the same path. It took sixteen years to realize that, and approximately six months to come to terms with it.
    After coming out as gay, it’s not exactly a huge deal to come out as transgender. Starting with my friends who all just happen to be flaming homosexuals, the truth was told. I then shared it with my mother, my siblings, other friends, and even the school dean. The amount of support and respect everyone is already displaying is utterly amazing. People are starting to call me Cameron and using male pronouns. Everyone is adapting so quickly, it’s almost unbelievable.
    I feel as though I’ve been transitioning throughout my entire life, and I’m being reborn. It’s as if I unknowingly started transitioning in freshman year. Everything is happening naturally and absolutely nothing feels forced. After a lot of research and deep thought, I’m going to start gender therapy and I’ll soon be taking prescribed testosterone injections. I’m definitely in a good place right now, and I could not be here without my friends and family supporting my every move. My name is Cameron Cole and I’m finally happy.
Julie, thank you so much for letting me share my story. Feel free to edit it- I’m merely a sixteen year old with high school grammar.
                                                                                                -Cameron
And here’s the video: (note: I hope it works…we had some technical issues on my end – likely user error – but hopefully it works…because it is awesome.)

On Thin Ice

While not particularly athletic, Jessie has always loved to ice skate.  We are fortunate to live just moments away from one of the most beautiful outdoor rinks you’d ever have the pleasure of skating on.  As a little boy (yep, did that on purpose) we used to take George to the small area alongside the big rink which was populated with milk crates. We would (not always so) patiently direct him how to use one to balance his parka-ed, mittened, snowpanted self from falling on the ice, although with all his added bulk and short distance to the ground, no tumble was ever too significant.  It took only two or three such visits before he was raring to get onto the big ice with the big kids and whiz around…the faster the better. With a ridiculously reasonable $5 admission fee, it is perennial weekend favorite for the entirety of its season (which also manages to sneak in a little exercise with the kids none the wiser).

A week or so ago, Jessie unearthed her skates from last winter and announced that she was unable to wear them.  Since they are your traditional black boy’s hockey skates, I assumed that she was rejecting them for what they represented to her.  I was also acutely aware of her not so thinly veiled goal of attaining a new pair of white figure skates to accompany her pink jacket/hat/glove ensemble.  Noting my disbelief, she angrily attempted to pull one on and son of a bitch, despite having bought them with “room to grow”, the damn boots were two sizes too small.   So new skates it would be…just not quite yet.  She went to the rink with Rich and rented skates; an exercise which offended her as it seemed to suggest that she is not a “real” skater.  Fair enough, no one likes skating around with their shoe size emblazoned on the heel, old laces and dull blades.  It was agreed that she needed new skates.

Fast forward to this morning: a perfect outdoor skating day.  She initially declined the invitation to glide around the rink reminding us not only of her disdain for the rental skates but also (not so) gently reminding us of our promise to purchase a new pair.  With only a moment of hemming (we never got to hawing) it was agreed that she would get new skates before going to the rink today provided she promise to use them often in an effort to offset the hefty price tag.  With her pinky promise on the books, she and Rich headed to Dick’s Sporting Goods armed with $150 in gift certificates that Rich had been given as a corporate reward from work close to five years ago.  Even better: freebies… this wasn’t gonna hurt a bit. (Now might be a good time to mention that it was discovered the hard way that the certificates were only good for online purchases…damn.)

About an hour later, they arrived home toting a large box and sporting an equally large grin.   I will admit to bracing myself in anticipation of white figure skates being pulled from the package.  I will even admit to being grateful that I was not a part of the shopping experience.  And I will further admit to be confused, happy, bewildered, dismayed and curious when she proudly displayed black boy’s hockey skates.  But, WTF?

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This is the kind of thing that trips me up.  I know that plenty of girls opt for the boy’s hockey skates.  I know that it is probably a meaningless gesture.  I know that it doesn’t matter.  And I know that it messes with my head.  There, I said it.

There is lots of discussion among the transgender community about the very real existence of “gender fluidity”; it’s meaning self-explanatory.  While I am fully prepared to be chastised for saying this, I have to say that, for me, “gender” and “fluidity” in the same breathe is much more difficult to reconcile than transgender.  More than that, it jars me in a fall-flat-on-your-butt-on-the-ice-and-get-the-wind-knocked-out-of-you way.  Lest you think that this is always easy and that I am this wonderfully accepting mother, let this serve as admission that I am not.   I am attempting to negotiate these waters and finding that there are pockets that are frozen solid, ready for skating enjoyment and others that are just waiting for someone (me) to fall through.  I feel the potential to be the moron we see every winter on the news who charges out onto the half-frozen pond only to need a team of EMTs and first responders to pull them to safety.  And it sometimes makes me wonder if there is any sort of solid ground beneath me anymore.  I know it was just a pair of skates…but those blades are sharp.

The Power of a Tooth Extraction

The house is quiet.  I am here all alone, everyone having cleared out so that I can recuperate from yesterday’s tooth extraction.  I feel well, but did notice that lifting a bag of garbage out of the pail resulted in a tugging sensation in the spot that used to house a molar in the back of my mouth.  It surprised me and then served as a reminder that my body, once again, had been through something and that I had best just lay low and take things easy.  I am not very good at doing that, although G-d knows I have had many instances in which it was the thing to do.

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I have not put on the television or the stereo to serve as background noise.  The only sounds are of the bubbler in the fish bowl (we have the longest living Purim carnival fish on the face of the earth…I believe we are on year five) and the clicking of the keyboard.  Even the dishwasher has finished its job and is silent on the other side of the house, just waiting for someone to empty it.  I have consciously decided that I will not be that person today.  And, while often such silence makes me anxious and antsy, today that is not the case.

Today I am allowing my body and soul to take a rest.  I am not rushing to shower so that I can accomplish errands (of which there are always many).  I am not slipping off my comfy pjs in exchange for jeans.  In fact, the only thing I am actively considering doing is crawling back under the covers and taking a nap.  I am suddenly so acutely aware of my profound exhaustion that said nap may be a necessity as opposed to a luxury.  And I cannot blame it on a tooth.

I can ascribe responsibility to any number of things potentially responsible for that groggy, gonna-go-lay down urge, yet I will not.  It is not only impossible to lay blame on one issue but it doesn’t particularly matter, either.  In fact, I am (nearly) literally patting myself on the back for allowing myself to just lose a day and baby myself.  Everything can wait.  There is nothing that has to happen today that cannot be tackled tomorrow.  And, if we are being truthful here, I may waste tomorrow, too.

If you have nowhere to be, nothing to do and no one relying on you (yeah, lotsa luck with that) I encourage you to do the same.

p.s. Lest you think this is the pain killers talking, let me assure you it isn’t as I am not taking any (don’t need ‘em)…just letting go a little bit.  You might want to give it a whirl yourself…

The Hidden Power You (May) Get From Toothpaste

Control: v. to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command.

Who wouldn’t want that?  Who doesn’t dream, fantasize and pray to the right G-ds to have it?  And, who, more importantly, can claim to have it?

I had a discussion today with my therapist during which I cited the many areas in my life over which I felt I had either lost (or, more to the point, never had) control over.  Some are obvious; see: transgender child in the house, while others are less so: what lays ahead for 2013 insofar as said transgender child is concerned (among other things).  As therapists so artfully do, she gently turned things around and suggested that I take note of the many things that I do, in fact, have (at least a semblance of) control over.  In what felt like a moment of desperation, she reminded me that my freedom of choice over what toothpaste I use (Colgate) is an example of one of the many things I (and you, too) take for granted as being within our control.

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Her digging so low in the barrel as to be espousing the importance of having a choice in the dental care sector, did, I admit, hit me with a nanosecond of credibility-doubting and a sinking feeling of being utterly pathetic.  But then, with my confidence in her abilities as a therapist firmly implanted, I started to really think about it.  I live in the town that I want to, have (mostly) wonderful people in my life and can choose to go days on end without washing my hair if I so desire.  I have domination over my reading list and television viewing.  In fact, with “On Demand”, I can go so far as to control not only if, but when I watch my beloved Housewives which, in actuality, is another something over which I have control: an inane, escapist choice, but one over which I have complete and total control.  For every silly novel I devour, I exercise the decision to read something that I am not ashamed to be seen carrying around.  (Example: “Fifty Shades of Grey” followed by “May We Be Forgiven” or “Bossy Pants” with an “Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me” chaser– oh, wait, those are both silly!)  Bingo!  My choice, my control!  This is easier than I thought.

I have control over what I eat.  The fact that I sometimes opt for the ice cream as opposed to the apple is, in reality, something I actually have control over.  So, too is my wearing the slightly snug jeans versus the ones that are one size larger and infinitely more comfortable.  Or sleeping-in instead of hitting the gym.  And don’t forget paying cash or using a credit card.  All in my control. (Note: control does not necessarily equal a good choice, rather, as noted above, it shows a “direction over”…which direction we choose is entirely up to us.  Thus, control!)

I feel a little bit better now but when I first left her office I was quite sure that the only thing I would ever come up with over which I had control was the damned toothpaste and that, I will admit, depressed the shit out of me.  I am happy to report that, while I still have scads of doings in my world over which I feel a complete control-void, there are actually many things over which I do, indeed have control.  Not sure I can claim total domination (as is deemed necessary in the definition), but at least it is not quite as dire as I thought.

Stop and take a look at even the most miniscule tidbits over which you have control and maybe you, too, will feel a little better.