It is a relief to find a comfortable pace where I can continue to move forward in life without everything being a huge struggle.

Lean times call for slow improvements. Any improvement in the general condition of things for me is still doing better than many people and I should be thankful for that, even if it’s not moving as fast as I’d like.

I have to remember that I’m not alone among those who went back to university because jobs were scarce. There are a lot of us, and we all have the same problems and we’re working together to fix them.

I have to remember that a year ago, I was in sad shape from my first recollections of Ypres, and deeply frustrated because I couldn’t find a competent doctor willing to treat gender dysphoria; two years ago, I was on the verge of complete and total self-destruction. As much as I complain about the boredom and anxiety now, at least I’m not in the drunk and dysphoric death spiral I was locked in between July and November of 2011.

I wish that perspective like this came easily to me, but it doesn’t. I get bored and with boredom comes worry. The issues I already know I have to deal with eventually- completing my transition, paying down my debts, whether or not I’ll ever get wider notice as an author- become insurmountable menaces. I fall prey to a culture that plays up the negative aspects of certain choices as a mechanism of discouragement, and I lose sight of the fact that I’m usually pretty good at knowing the score and that so far, there hasn’t been a skid I couldn’t recover from when I trusted my instinct (both figuratively and literally).

I will probably struggle for some years to come before ever having a chance to “make it” in life. I have challenges other people don’t. But the struggle doesn’t have to be joyless and for what little I have, I do have a mind that is still fairly brilliant when I get focused enough to really apply it and a strong survival instinct that is very difficult to extinguish, even in my darkest moments.

I have to say that at times like this, it really helps to try to think like an urban fox. An urban fox can’t be sad about austerity for long. I can put myself in a canid headspace and remember that survival does not have to be glamorous, but it doesn’t have to be joyless either. There is definitely an art to finding the joy in going for a frolic in plain sight of everything and everyone that might eventually kill you without actually tempting them to do it any more than you have to. At times like this I remember what it was like to walk the streets of London at 4 in the morning when it was only me, the Milkman, and a few dozen plucky foxes, and I knew at the very core of my being which of these I had the most in common with.


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