I caught myself whistling today as I walked from my department’s main office back to my own office. And at one time in my life, that wouldn’t be any big deal, as I have been known to whistle all the time. Throughout my life I have felt as if I had running soundtracks in my head that were as reliable as movie soundtracks at signaling my mood. Sometimes lethargic, sometimes speedy. Legato or Staccato. Minor key or major key. Droning in repetition or wildly improvisational.

Guess what I realized when I caught myself whistling today? I don’t think I’ve whistled publicly since this identity crisis began. I don’t remember the last time there was a soundtrack in my head.

I’ve played a lot of music and listened to a lot of music, but I haven’t had the soundtrack or the whistle. I believe that I lost that part of myself during the past 18 months, submerged under 20,000 leagues of pain.

Like the spring buds, it is beginning to show signs of reemergence. Maybe after a long period of turmoil–grief, pain, strife–the things that were pushed aside to make room for grieving, feeling pain, struggling slowly begin finding purchase in the soil of a new identity.

This is very exciting, and the weird thing is that I honestly had not noticed this part of me had gone missing.

Why didn’t I notice the soundtrack had quit? The glib answer is that it must have something to do with transsexual transition and all that goes with it. More seriously, though, what else has changed that I haven’t noticed? Am I going through life oblivious as to the most central things of my personality? How do I regain mindfulness? Are all good parts of myself recoverable after a period of healing? And who is the final authority on what parts of me are lost–I don’t feel as if I can trust myself on this matter, any more.