A little over a month ago I wrote a piece called Story Time… which detailed a plethora of emotional tumult that I have been trying to navigate. It’s time to expound on that because I have not been well, and my aim is to get well. As the saying goes, “the truth will set you free;” hopefully I’ll be a lot more free after this.
About 4–5 months ago I began double dosing my Progesterone (400mg daily). My goal was to get that beloved pain in my breasts that would signify new growth. I hadn’t felt that glorious pain since before my surgeries last year because the doctors insisted that I come off hormones for two-weeks prior to surgery and two-weeks post-op. Since I had two surgeries staggered a month apart, this meant that I ended up being off my hormones for nearly two entire months. The withdrawal from that even had me experiencing hot flashes. Spoiler Alert; hot flashes suck! Needless to say, the absence of my hormones had ceased my breast development, and I was increasing my dose to kickstart additional growth.
There’s a lot of anecdotal information about the efficacy of Progesterone when it comes to breast growth, but after all this time, I can say unequivocally that it did appear to work; the pain did came back! Unfortunately there are other anecdotes about the effects of this hormone; those being, weight gain and depression. I can now say that I can vouch for the validity of those side effects; no more anecdotes.
My depression had coincided with an uptick in my drinking, something I thought I had control of in the wake of my transition. But as those who become addicted to drink, we are prone to denying the problem; thus, we reinforce it.
The research and writing that I have been doing with regard to the community made the drinking that much easier. I was getting fed up with the deluge of hate against the Transgender community that I’d read online. A smart person would simply choose to avoid this news, but in my aim to seek out Trans-positive stories for The Transition Transmission Facebook page, I often would have to sift through tens of articles riddled with hate, half-truths, and outright lies about my community; this has been eating me from my core!
As I would write about how our community was becoming the victim of a “Legalized Genocide,” I began falling victim to the very trap I was writing about. The trap where those who hate us drive us to the point of complete self-destruction, then proclaim us failures while absolving themselves of having pushed us off the mesa.
Last week I reached my breaking point, the biggest bender I’d ever had. I was out of town that evening, and as was my growing custom for dealing with my loneliness, I drank; not for relaxation but for the erasure of time. In my mind I convinced myself that drink will help mask all the hate I have endured in my online travels, but in reality it churns it. I end up getting angry at a willfully-hurtful society, and because I cannot hurt them back, I simply resort to hurting myself. This — of course — is what they want; to let their hate own me, to diminish my self-worth such that I can be a controlled element in their narrow minded and ignorant world.
That night, after having consumed more wine than I dare admit, I found myself seeking more oblivion. By this point, it’s late in the night. So I stagger over to an adjacent store for a six pack of high point beer. I made this journey through a poorly lit alley that backs up to a shady looking mobile-home park, secretly hoping that someone would attack me in the shadows and end this existence. After all, the internet is non-stop with it’s reports of murdered Transwomen; why not just get it over with, why not poke fate?
I didn’t get jumped that night; I returned to my room, and my binge. I know I had moments of lucidity. I hammered out an assignation about being thrown under the bus by my loved ones. All I really needed was a response to a post about the Vatican rejecting “Transgenderism.” Instead I got Dead Air. It was triggering, but I can’t really assign blame here; as my wife likes to point out, I’m often shortsighted for assuming everyone (or anyone) sees what I post. All I can really do is explain that on that day, I needed those who love me — but whom also love the church — to make a proclamation that my life had merit over what that religious body deemed meritless. The silence felt deafening.
I awoke the next day beyond wrecked. My wife called me, I had a breakdown; I wish I had died. As drinkers often do they awaken full of remorse over their actions; I was no different. I awoke barely functional, and I ran out the clock in my room for as long as I possibly could just so I could find my senses. Even then, I was reeling; is this what alcohol poisoning feels like? I’m sure I’ve been wrecked before, but this was something completely next-level.
I returned home a broken woman. I told my wife “I’m done.” A proclamation that I am fed up burying my pain under torrents of inebriation; I’ve had enough!
We’d discussed hospitalization, and believe it or not, that idea seemed like a really good idea; though perhaps not practical. My wife was diligent in giving suggestions for people I could seek help from. Unfortunately, after some searching, it was quickly determined that it was nearly impossible to get actual immediate psychiatric help without suicidality being a factor. So we found a new counselor.
I’d actually seen my usual counselor the day before this bender. I won’t lie about it; I was having a beer within 30 minutes of that session. It was beyond apparent that a fresh perspective was necessary. But I would also need to find someone to help me with the medicinal side of emotional wellbeing. Thankfully I have a very understanding general practitioner who is willing to work with me.
Now I’m feeling better, but I need to take some very serious stock in my reality.
The reality is simple; I have transitioned in one of the most conservative states, and the most negative experience that befell me was being asked to leave a restroom. The bright spot in that dark cloud is that I have a source who informed me that the individual responsible for that got some new sensitivity training about Transgender individuals after I reported the incident to their corporate offices. Literally over these past two and a half years, that’s the worst thing that’s ever happened!
Now, I need to take stock of what’s gone right, and what’s affirmed me over the course of my transition.
On no fewer than three occasions I’ve been told by men that I am “sexy as hell” or “sexy as fuck;” while performing a job that most men wouldn’t even sign up for.
I have had repeated interactions with women complimenting me on my build, or my tattoos all while affirming me with female pronouns.
Just days ago I was in a packed restroom — in a public venue — while wearing a shirt which read “This Is What Trans Looks Like” and I had a woman shake my hand and tell me I was “One Tough Mother Fucker.” While not the most polite compliment, it was a compliment nonetheless, and considering it was IN the women’s room I thought that was pretty amazing!
For my job, I deliver all over the south eastern quadrant of Oklahoma; it’s a lot of small towns where you would expect non-acceptance — and yet — no one questions my validity despite my immutable male characteristics.
My customers read me as female, and have done so without provocation; even the ones who knew me before transition. Some have acknowledged it, and seek to affirm me; it’s not always tactful, but I can see their heart is in the right place.
All of my co-workers have watched me transition, and have been respectful of my name and pronouns. In the rare moments when they have slipped, they have immediately apologized.
My family accepts me, my in-laws accept me, and my wife’s love seems unwavering in spite of my transition and associated difficulties. And on that dark day last week, I heard from many people in my family, as well as local and online friends; they all affirmed their continued support throughout these struggles.
I am blessed!
I know that sounds like bragging, but I’m actually doing what my counselor suggested; focusing on the positive. I am putting these things here to remind myself that the person attacking me, is actually myself. I have attacked myself in a subconscious attempt to conquer the survivors guilt that I am still plagued with. Guilt that I have thrust upon myself because I am unable to reconcile my lack of anguish or hardship that’s on-par with all the negativity I have absorbed through the media. I have unknowingly created my own suffering.
Having this awareness is critical.
That one time that I was asked to leave a restroom haunted me for at least four months. One incident can quickly derail a lot of emotional progress for anyone in transition. So perhaps the lesson here is that — while we will face resistance within our transitions — we must not turn our attentions to these negatives; rather, we must remind ourselves of the positives regardless of how few or plentiful they are.
I am still a work in progress, especially in light of recent events; but I have made a decision… I want to live! In order to do that, I need to stop killing myself. I didn’t just push through transition to directly (or indirectly) destroy myself.
I just got here!
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