My daughter recently asked me why we are alive rather than not. Why something exists rather than nothing. A question I’ve considered since I was her age. I told her the truth. We don’t know. I told her that’s why there are religions, that’s why people fear death, that’s why we preserve life.
I just had my six-month blood draw to check my hormone levels and I find myself thinking of all the people I’ve survived. Without listing them all, suffice it to say it’s too many. A half a year on HRT and I realize where I’ve been, where I’m going and how far I still must go. Aware tomorrow I may die, today, in a minute.
I had a talk with my doctor about my desire to hurt myself. I answered their little questionnaire about my mental state and answered honestly. I explained I don’t want to die but that physical pain is relieving of the symptoms of dysphoria that I experience every day. I said I often feel that I’d be better off not alive because then all this would be gone, I could just rest, I wouldn’t have to struggle or feel.
But I don’t want to die.
It’s a strange position to be in, to feel you want to live but you don’t want to suffer any longer. I guess it means I’m teetering on the edge of this idea of moving forward. I am hoping to be released from my pain, and I will one way or another.
Pain is temporary. In the long term, this will not last any longer than the rest of my life. While that may be another fifty years it may also only be another day.
I suppose that’s what keeps me going. I know that no matter what I will stop being in pain eventually. The goal is to be free of pain before I’m dead to experience being alive and unburdened without a drug. Marijuana use had made existing more tolerable. For a long time. Without it I’m very much in a bad state and I find I’m barely able to keep myself together.
I’m realizing not only do people not comprehend what I mean by that but they’re also unaware of much I wish they did. I’m also becoming aware of how blind people are to almost everything. To their own behaviors.
I’m guilty of that, of course. Of being unconscious of how my actions register. How they betray me. How they make others feel. We all are. It’s not really possible to be completely aware. You can’t really know why we are here rather than not. Why we hurt rather than feel nothing. Why we sleep and still wake. Why the loss of a person should stay in our minds for so long. To weigh on our hearts for our entire lives.
Why love when we could so easily turn our heads? Why turn our heads when we could so easily love? Having no answers doesn’t make me enlightened.
I feel a guilt of wanting to be free of this pain, to be happy, when so many others are starving, dead or incapable of ever living free of pain. The fact that I have a road away from this makes me fortunate. In that way I feel a need to help other people. The reality is I can’t even actually help myself anymore than I already am. I am quite paralyzed. While it may not seem that way to other people or their lack of insight may make it difficult to understand why, it is a fact. It is almost farcical that I’d be concerned to help other people. The blind assisting the deaf.
Some people can function very well being transgender. And they become these really competent examples of what a trans person should be. But for me I exist in a limbo between a dark and painful reality and trying to hide that reality as best I can. My whole life until recently has been centered around making sure I wasn’t discovered as trans. It was easier back when I didn’t have the words for it.
Now, being out, the struggle is to still seem as if I’m getting better when in reality I’m just not getting worse.
The people in my daily life don’t read this. There are benefits to that and downsides. On the one hand you know they’re not really interested enough to find out. On the other I know I can go on pretending.
It’s strangely comfortable to not be forthright and open. If I told people how I actually felt all the time no one would want to know me. Very few do. I tell people how I feel if they get close to me. If they reach out. If they want to know.
And they’re often clearly brought to discomfort at my honesty. They realize, swiftly, the jokes, the face, the smile, the conversation… it’s all a mask and underneath exists something almost frightening that I’m perfectly willing to share. Few ever do so. Perhaps they’re just afraid themselves. To be seen. To be seen as weak.
But I am weak.
I am weakened by the hours and days I remain as I am now.
What I don’t say...
The number of times a day... I consider-
-removing my own genitalia with a razor blade.
How many times a day I imagine-
-myself in a wedding dress-
-and how tears threaten to give me away.
It’s easier to talk about the meaning of life-
-or lack thereof.