Today, 17 June 2015, marks the one year anniversary of my top surgery and my embarking on a new life’s journey. On 17 June 2014, I loaded my camels and my caravan* swayed into the desert.
Many, many moons ago, I wrote this poem (in Afrikaans, here translated by your poet-in-mind-residence):
I journey to you
on lazy drowsy camels
in my thirsting desert
always ahead behind dunes
with cool refreshment
for parched throat
in conversation with myself
once again the realization
oasis became a mirage
Then, the oasis was a woman (Oh, how women inspire the bards in us!). Now my oasis has become an elusive guy.
Before and since writing this, I have been on many journeys into my mind. For some reason still obscure to me, I equate these expeditions with journeys through deserts. Hmm, might want to discuss this with my sage sometime… One of my early posts, Quest, dealt with such a journey.
“The early light is breaking
The morning sun is waiting in the sky
And I think I’m gonna break away
And follow where the birds of freedom fly”**
I have followed those birds of freedom for the past year – and what a year it was. It was a year of deep emotions, intense loneliness and introspection. A year of discovery, of gathering some the proverbial stones and casting others away.***
I used this blog as a journal to record some thoughts along the way. I made new friends online, brothers journeying to the same freedom I crave, some further along the journey, others only starting out. With some I feel a closer kinship and hope to meet them often at oases along our journeys.
I met other travelers as well, from the whole specter of the gender rainbow and those who accompany them on their journeys. From each I learnt something and I am humbled by their courage.
I probably have offended some people and our routes have diverged. All I can hope is that I have not left anyone hurt or even bruised and that maybe one day we meet again, elsewhere. Maybe then we can (again) be friends?
I don’t know if I have touched another’s life in a positive way, if only minutely. I can only hope I did.
Along the way I also engaged a large organization in battle on their policy for reasonable accommodation for staff with a disability. It took me ten months, but I have received the news recently: I will be granted the accommodation I had sought for my hearing impairment. They had no choice, really, the law is on my side, but the skirmish was dragged out to to almost beyond my mental endurance. I found myself on my metaphorical knees, ready to surrender, but managed to haul myself to my feet to fight on. I might have lost the power battle, but I won the war. With dignity. Hopefully I have smoothed the road somewhat for those who come after me. Climbing over sun-bleached skeletons of the conquered enemy, is a lot easier than a bloody face-to-face fight. And once again I have come to realize, the pen is mightier than the sword.
“Caravans, oh, my soul is on the run
Overland, I am flying
Caravans moving out into the sun
Oh, I don’t know where I’m going
But I’m going.”
No, I don’t know where I am going, but I have started this journey and there is no turning back. My soul craves a final destination, an oasis, a place of rest and peace. Till I find it, I will keep on journeying.
Living in a virtual world is far easier than living in the real one. Here I can be Kris, somewhat anonymous, but still the person I am. Here I can speak my mind, share my dreams, my hopes, my fears. But somehow it is also like living in a vacuum. Yes, there are social interaction, support and encouragement from my trusted and valued community. I treasure that. But while I was being Kris in the virtual world, I still had and have to be that faceless person who has a family and a full-time job and does volunteer work for an animal charity. Although the worlds have started to overlap minutely (B even calls me Kris when she is bargaining to get something out of me 🙂 ), there are aspects of the real world I have neglected.
“I need to breathe, I need to leave
When the sands of time go drifting by
I may be on my own
But I’ll be free.”
I have come to a point where I do not know if I should continue posting to this blog. I have never been one for keeping a diary and although this blog is not a diary, it is as personal. It has been a dissection of my most intimate thoughts, doubts, fears and dreams and something tells me it is now time to give my soul space to breathe – that it is time to leave the Tangled Web – for a while at least. It is time to work on living in the real world, to take up threads that have been dropped along the way, work on integrating the virtual and the real – if only in dress and thought.
I’ll be around. I will drop in where you camp and share some wine from your Bota Bag while we contemplate our journeys. I will have my messenger update me on your progress and send my own parchment notes to encourage you. I might even post a missive on my progress. And maybe the need to post here will stir again, sometime.
“We look before and after,
And pine for what is not;
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs
are those that tell of saddest thought.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley
Till then, ciao, auf Wiedersehen, au revoir, hej då, tot weersiens. (How’s that for ending on a dramatic note? 🙂 )
* Caravan ~ a group of people, especially traders or pilgrims, travelling together across a desert in Asia or North Africa.
** “Caravans” ~ composed by Mike Batt, performed by Barbara Dickson for the movie Caravans, here performed by South African singer Mynie Grove. I never saw the movie, but the theme song has stayed with me over the years.
***Bible, Ecclesiastics 3:5: “A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away.”