Yay. New Millennium for real, finally, if you're using the old-fashioned Gregorian calendar, which we all do in our daily living whether we recognize that we do it or not. Even if you use the Common Era trick, you're still using the Gregorian calendar, just not calling it Anno Domini, "Year of our Lord". I've seen a lot of other calendars including the Jewish, Chinese, Mayan, Discordian and Tranquility versions, and they all say the year is something different, but none of them get written on my checks.

New Year's is supposed to be a time of resolutions, but that's to me as silly as presents just for Christmas is. We all walk around saying that we should be nice to each other because it's the holidays, as if we would normally lie, bicker and argue with one another but we won't because it's That Time of the Year. If we really wanted to stick to the changes that we wanted to make in our lives, we would. We shouldn't need the calendar on the wall, as arbitrary as it is, to dictate our actions.

This having been said, I hope you enjoyed whatever festivities in which you participated. Jessie and I went up to visit zir parents in Michigan for the week just prior to Christmas, and then to my parents' apartment the Friday after. As luck had it, most of the people Jessie would have wanted to visit were either just leaving for trips to other parts of the country themselves or wouldn't be arriving until after we'd left, and so we spent most of the
time with Jessie's family or zir friend Greg. Don't get me wrong: Greg's was fun to have around and I enjoy being around Jessie's parents, but I know how much Jessie was hoping to be able to spend more time with zir other friends, and they were all out of town. This just means that next year we have to plan things more than three days in advance, I guess.

More than anything, this time of the year brings about introspection. For me, it's the break between mental semesters. I remember winter break fondly from my university days and the fact that my office shuts down for a week around this time only reinforces old habits. Now's when I would go through all of my old lecture notes and save the ones I thought I'd need for next year, for the classes whose prerequisites I took this semester. Inevitably I'd lose all my old notes and tests and such, but it was the effort of sorting out the baggage from last year and the official cleaning-out of the bookshelf, and of all the other baggage in my life.

Mitchell emailed me about a week ago. It was the sort of email that I guess I should have expected from him, but I'd hoped I had been wrong. In it, he blamed me for the dissolution of the friendship, despite having been the one
to say to me, "Jessie's not welcome in my apartment" even after I said that where Jessie wasn't welcome, I wouldn't go. He then tried to apologize for doing what he thought was right, which annoyed me further. He also wouldn't talk with Jessie about what prompted him to make the decision he did, which frustrated Jessie. In short, if anyone were responsible for our not speaking, I would say it was Mitchell.

In the fact of all of this, though, he stated in his note, "I forgive you for your dropping of our friendship". I'm still not entirely sure what I should make of this. If this is how he views our friendship ending, then I really don't want to make the effort of continuing it. If this is a  misunderstanding on my part of what he said, or his faulty memory at work, then I'd like to try to pick things up again, but I have a hard time believing that this is the case. He's had my phone number. He's had my email address. He could have contacted me at any point, but he never did. I replied to his email and told him all of this. I haven't gotten any further response.

I've been talking with surgeons, finally. I emailed Dr. Kunaporn in Phuket, Thailand, about getting on his waiting list and finding out his criteria for candidacy. I felt like I was back in graduate school, going through my checklist to make sure I could get my degree. At any rate, I'll qualify for everything in August of next year, and so when he said that he had a fifteen-month waiting list, I thought I wouldn't be up for surgery for at least two years: nine until the application and fifteen past that, plus however much longer the list had gotten in that time. However, he told me that I could go ahead and apply to be on his list now and could schedule for March of 2002.

Surgery has always felt like this far-off thing for me. As much as I want it, as desirous as I am of the results of the operation, I think somewhere in the back of my mind, I always held out hopes that one day I'd just wake up and
things would be different. I don't have an actual date, but I've asked Dr. Kunaporn to please list me in his calendar and that I would have the paperwork to him as soon as I got it together. Now I have to worry about all the details of the finances to pay for it, the logistics of going to Thailand for a month to have the operation and recover enough to fly back, the paperwork to make sure I can go where I need to go. I'm actually in preparation to get to the Big Snip, as it were.

It's strange talking about it in terms of something that'll be over in fifteen months. The hair removal almost certainly won't be finished at that point. The likelihood of people suddenly recognizing me as female won't change. I won't have been on hormones long enough to consider breast enlargement if I want, so my visible form won't be any different. It's an on-going process, not one that just stops cold with the surgery. In many ways, I'll forever be

What matters, ultimately, is that I'm happy. Minor emotional wobbles aside, I'm happier now than I have been in a long time.

I've been seeing myself as hare a lot lately. It's strange, closing my eyes and seeing what's like a reflection of an idealized form back at me, white fur with black tips to my shorter ears and puffed tail, large feet, dark brown eyes, the lot. I say it's strange, anyway. It never happened before, during the time period to which I lovingly and someone embarrassingly refer as the LoveBear Era. Then again, I think I always knew somewhere under the
surface that LoveBear wasn't really me, that he was a face I put forward to show the world.

I guess what's strange to me is that it's never happened before, and yet been exploring animal spirituality for several years. At least, I've been following friends who've been exploring animal spirituality. In all honesty, I don't think I ever really believed until recently.

It's not that I believe, really. It doesn't work like that for me. Animals do not in and of themselves have mystical connections that in turn make those who follow them act in certain ways. It's more like, we ascribe characteristics to certain animals, and then we say that people who show those characteristics are of the animals whose characteristics they match. It's probably bass-ackwards from how a lot of others approach it, but it works for me. It's my backwards baseball-cap.

At any rate, it's been a reassuring feeling, seeing this image in my head, having the overwhelming sense of looking into a mirror and seeing that face, that form. It's like a vindication, or the first signs of psychosis. Either way, I feel more comfortable with myself as I am now than I ever did during the LoveBear Era, and that's always a step in the right direction.

Every day, I'm more myself. I can't think of anyone I'd rather be.

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