I’m doing a lot of thinking these days.

I mean, I do a lot of thinking all the time. It’s a big part of who I am. But lately, my brain’s feeling a little crowded.

I’m thinking about privilege, particularly all of the privilege I have always had as a white person, and more recently that I’ve acquired as a white man.

I am thinking that I need to use all of that privilege to more constructive ends.

I’m thinking about family, about the ones I chose who also chose me, and about how my feelings surrounding my choice to step back from my family or origin have evolved over the past several months. I’m thinking about my grandparents, two of whom are still living but all of whom I’ve lost. I’m thinking of my uncle, my father’s best friend, who had breakfast with me a couple of weeks ago and whose father passed away this week.

I am thinking that grief is complex and unpredictable.

I’m thinking about identity, and how I relate to my body, and how desperately I’ve been trying to ignore the growing presence of body-related dysphoria in my life. I’m thinking about how top surgery is still unscheduled and likely won’t happen for close to a year, and about how it will put me even further in debt but how I can’t even care about that anymore.

I am thinking that I am grateful that my identity as a man came after and was shaped by twenty-odd years of identity as a girl and as a woman.

I’m thinking about knitting, and how many projects I’ve managed to finish this year, about how most of them were very small but two of them were sweaters for me (though only one of those is wearable), and how that’s a lot for me.

I am thinking I want to knit all the sweaters.

I’m thinking about tarot and insight and intuition, and about how much I want to help people, and whether those two things should be more connected in my life. I’m thinking about burnout and spoon theory and whether my desire to help people should sometimes take a back seat to helping myself.

I am thinking about the value of selfishness.

I’m thinking about friends, about the ones that I’ve lost and the ones that I’ve gained and the ones that I’ve kept despite distance and regardless of the infrequency of contact. I’m thinking about an upcoming weekend of manicures and chick flicks and cooking and domesticity and some of my favorite people.

I am thinking that I am grateful for my newfound ability to appreciate my own femininity.

I’m thinking about books, and how I used to read all the time, and how over half the books I’ve read this year were books I’d read before. I’m thinking about stories and escape and education.

I am thinking I should prioritize making more time for books in my life.

I’m thinking so many things about myself and my home and my hobbies and the people in my life, and my brain is often feeling like a very crowded place. The fact that I’m entering into a manic phase is amplifying that feeling, and it’s a little overwhelming. But it’s also encouraging.

I am thinking, therefore I am growing.