As you all know, 2008 was a year of massive changes in my life. It was the year I quit being George and began being Joyce. It was the year I came out to everyone in my life and sat on pins and needles while I waited for their response. It was the year I expected to lose my family, friends, and job, but managed to keep all of them. It was the year I opened my eyes, tossed off the shackles I had been wearing for 47 years, and finally became whole.
[The following meme is something I borrowed from CrunchyGranola].
1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
What did I not do that I had never done before? I burned all my bridges, threw away my old clothes, began interacting with the world as a whole new person.
2. Did you keep your New Years’ Resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t make ’em, and thus I don’t keep ’em.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Mary Jo’s father died, and the boys and I flew a small plane up to Ohio for the funeral. In some ways, my old self died, although I would prefer to imagine him going on a long cruise, instead.
5. What countries did you visit?
No countries in 2008, but Mary Jo and I went to Greece at the very end of 2007, if that counts for anything.
6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
It was a particularly memorable year with lots and lots of etched dates. Each coming out meeting is forever burned in my memory, the surgery in June is awfully vivid (but not the recovery days after), the July family trip to the Grand Canyon, by birthday party, and a hundred heart-to-hearts with Mary Jo. Honestly, I think this year probably saw big and memorable things happen on at least a third of its days.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Facing, and overcoming, my fear about telling people I was a transsexual.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I failed to soothe my friend Slade sufficiently as he grappled with my news in the spring, and eventually he bailed out on me.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
None, knock on wood. I did have surgery in June to smooth out my Kirk Douglas chin, but that was elective.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
A whole new wardrobe from scratch.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Mary Jo’s, my kids’, my sister Liz’s, my friends and larger family, my colleagues. It was definitely a year of celebration.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Prop-8 supporters in California and beyond. I was also disappointed in John McCain, to whom I’ve contributed in the past, in choosing Sarah Palin for his running mate.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Paid down various real estate loans and paid off the mortgage where we live. We also invested in horse and flying training and equipment. Oh, and the new face and new wardrobe.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The whole big transition. In the last part of the year, I also began to become excited about my scholarly projects again, and in December, I began to plan out their 2009 trajectory.
16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
The Sweeney Todd soundtrack generally, and probably “Johanna” more specifically.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
relieved, much happier, more empowered
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I had read more to my kids. We kind of go in spurts these days, since they can do their own reading. But we were all reminded just how nice it is to read (and be read to) over the break, when we read Edgar Allan Poe stories on New Year’s Eve while waiting for midnight.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
hand-wringing, self-centered worry
20. How did you spend Christmas?
At home with the boys and Mary Jo. In the evening, we had a community dinner with Milo and Annabelle and some other guests in town.
21. What online users did you meet?
I met Allyson from the “My Husband Betty” boards just before last January, and again in February, Randi and Eileen from the same boards last January, Sirena Bella from the same boards in March or April, and Violet Eggplant from Second Life in January.
22. Did you fall in love in 2008?
Oh yes! I fell madly in love with my partner all over again.
23. What was your favorite TV program?
Project Runway, Top Chef, Cash Cab, Mythbusters
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
25. What was the best book you read?
I read mostly academic books in 2008, along with bits of Lord of the Rings (which we read aloud in bed). It’s hard to say “best,” but one of the surprises of the year was the publication of a really good reader in argumentation theory that I used as a new textbook in my fall graduate course: Aguayo, Angela, and Timothy Steffensmeier Readings on Argumentation. Strata, 2008.
26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
That I could play guitar and still keep medium-length fingernails.
27. What did you want and get?
A new lease on life.
28. What did you want and not get?
Acceptance by 100% of the people.
29. What was your favorite film of this year?
I didn’t get to see too many grown-up movies this year, so I’ll have to pass. Among kid films, Iron Man was quite good and I liked the Batman movie (but not the Bat Man character himself).
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
49 in December, and I had a fabulous birthday. All my faculty friends surprised me at our normal poker party Friday night with gifts for my very first birthday as Joyce, so I got all kinds of girly stuff that was ok for my friends to give and ok for me to receive: nail polish, new girly pajamas and robe, oils, unguents, lotions, relaxing eye-gels and neck pads, earrings, and so on. Truly one of the best birthdays ever.
31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If I had answered this question in March, I would have said that I wanted to fast forward a few months to see how it all turned out, but what I realize now is that it’s the struggle to figure myself out that made 2008 so satisfying. I honestly can’t think of a thing I’d change.
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Pretty big shift this year (for obvious reasons) — but my general fashion idea has been classic looks purchased from Ann Taylor.
33. What kept you sane?
Talking and writing — i.e. communicating with my family and friends, sometimes in this blog, sometimes in correspondence, and sometimes face-to-face.
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
“Fancy,” eh? I didn’t really fancy anyone, but I read quite a bit about Obama, McCain, and Palin — I was not interested in Biden at all, and found that I still harbor quite a bit of bias against him for his plagiarism in his presidential campaign of the late 80’s.
35. What political issue stirred you the most?
The presidential election, generally, and marriage equality.
36. Who did you miss?
While I grew closer to my friends in immeasurable ways this year, I found myself wanting to spend face-to-face time with all of my online friends, and schemes all sorts of weird plans to visit them all. I missed my parents terribly, and made several visits to their gravesites to talk about all the massive changes as the year progressed. The most recent visit was on Dec 30th.
37. Who was the best new person you met?
Jane, the president of Bedford Falls’ PFLAG and a woman who reminds me of my mother. I like to imagine that Jane’s relationship with me would be how my mother’s relationship would be with me if she were alive.
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
You really can’t engage others with your whole being and you really can’t be truly present if you’re not being authentic and true to yourself.
39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
What a long, strange trip it’s been.