I am going to use my therapist’s first name from now on as simply referring to her as “J” seems too impersonal. I had asked her permission to do so before but I wasn’t comfortable enough using her full name until now.
Jodi has helped me a great deal over the past months, not just in regards to Trans* issues, but in a number of other things I have and still need to work through. She has asked the questions I needed asked and pointed things out which I had missed. Most of all she has encouraged me to be true to myself and that is the greatest gift anyone has given me in a long, long time.
Because we couldn’t meet last week, I have had the chance to put a little emotional distance between me and what happened last week, though it is still a raw edge I loath to poke. However, it was something I needed to talk about.
We discussed what happened, how a day filled with male pronouns turned into an ongoing problem which turned into a downward spiral which lasted for most of the week. It wasn’t just being called Sir, Mister, or even having a Buddy thrown in which caused the problem. It was the feeling of being crushed beneath the perceptions of others which became overwhelming.
It’s a bit of a Catch-22, I present as male, especially when I have the kids with me and so I have to expect to be treated as such, but still it tears me apart each time it happens. It’s bad enough to deal with at work where I am only interacting with others for short periods of time, but it so much worse when I’m out in public. Seriously, what is wrong with me?
All of this lead me to a point where I just wanted to give up, to return to a life I simply cannot live any more… You know what I mean, cutting my hair and nails, wearing male only clothing… pushing to think of myself in male only pronouns and male name… Just thinking on it now makes my stomach churn… but I have to admit to being there, to having those thoughts even though I managed to not act on them fully even as they dominated my thoughts. At one point I mentioned cutting my hair and was told by A I could only do it if I could promise to live with myself and not be a total bitch like I was the last time I did it … which I couldn’t do, so no hair was harmed in the making of this post….
Sitting here now, much of this has passed, at least the unshakable depression which had engulfed me… the feeling of helplessness, of life being unchangeable. I suppose this is something I am going to have to expect for as long as I insist on maintaining my male persona. However, having been through this again, I am aware it is not a circumstance which can continue indefinitely. At some point I am going to cross the line of no return.
Speaking of male clothing… Jodi was wondering why I even have any male clothing to switch back to, which is actually a good question. As I explained, it’s mostly because I’m a pack rat. I hate getting rid of things which are still usable or I think might one day find a use for… which is a bad habit to get into. At least I’m not ready to star on the next episode of “Hoarders”… at least not yet. The problem is this has left me another way to “punish” myself other than getting a hair cut or trimming my nails… not as if I need it. She suggested I purge myself of these things and thereby cut another lingering issue from my past. I have to agree with her. It’s time to move on.
Another thing I need to come to understand is how it is I have been living my life on a razors edge where even the smallest thing can ruin my entire day… or a week. I really do seem to exist on the brink of agitation, constantly reacting to the people and emotions around me. I think this is something which has been with me since I was a child when I was trying to anticipate my parents mood so I could avoid doing something to bring punishment or disapproval upon myself. To this day I catch myself seeking to please those around me even when it isn’t in my best interests…
Maybe this is why I am having so much conflict over my own place in this world… I have always been expected to be one thing, what those around me saw and expected and by not doing so, even though it isn’t something I can change, it makes me feel as if I am doing something wrong… as if I am a disappointment, a mistake… as if my worth as a person, a partner, a child, is based on how good I am… seen and not heard… just do as I am told… no back talk…