I feel I am like a triangle, existing in a space that is a square hole. No matter which way I am oriented, I never quite fit. I feel like my existence occupies a gray space; one that is neither fully black nor white, but lies somewhere on the fringes, or perhaps, in between.
My masculinity and femininity blurs the lines of acceptable “manhood”. My life as a person of transgender experience, challenges persons’ perceptions of what it means to be a man or woman, on any given day. My politics as a feminist man, lies outside of what is traditionally expected. My inclination to be polyamorous is an affront to the precious cultural “norm” of monogamy. But more than feeling detached from society because I feel like an outlier, I feel detached from my own body. And this is most unfortunate, because if not in my own skin, where else can I be comfortable, to what can I feel connected?
The other day, I was checking in with my mom. You know, finding out how she was processing the fact that she actually has another son, instead of a daughter, and how she was feeling about it. Much to my dismay, my mom still feels like she failed as a parent; and no matter the magnitude of reassurance I provide that this is not so, I cannot seem to assuage her feelings of inadequacy.
So I thought if I told her that I was doing better, that I was happier, that it might help to change her perspective. I THOUGHT. My mother’s response to “If it’s any consolation, I’m doing much better now. I’m happier.”, was “Yeah, of course YOU would be. It’s only helping you.”
I don’t think I’ve even fully processed the impact that statement is having on me. How could she say such a thing? Would she rather I remain miserable for the remainder of my life, for her own comfort? How selfish. And I can’t process that the woman who would give me her last, could really posit something so self-serving and unkind. Something which could be construed as her holding her own happiness in higher regard than my health and well-being (given the fact that it would mean my continued suffering).
I cannot exist in two bodies. Therefore, I must make the one which I currently possess more comfortable; but in doing so, I make my own mother terribly unhappy. Albeit, I have no other choice. As I sit here meditating, my breasts feel like two heavy weights on my chest. Cumbersome burdens that, try as I might, I cannot rid myself of. They affect me like gravity affects everything. Constantly exerting their force upon me. Dragging me further and further downwards; into a deep, dark place which is equally as exhausting to escape as their existence.
It is maddening torture. Try as I might to experience moments of happiness and joy, I am always being reminded of their unwanted presence. They are but two of the demon(tor)s I battle with daily. It is a war that consumes so much of my mental energy, not only am I left feeling physically exhausted, but I have very little energy to sufficiently tackle much else. Holding myself together, keeping myself out of the depths of despair, feels like a gargantuan task. And though there are so many things on my to-do list that I would love to accomplish, I struggle to find the wherewithal.
I want to study for my CRISC exam. I want to tackle my reading list. I want to complete my advocacy strategy. I want to complete blog posts and publish them. I want to feel energized. I want to escape this state of discontent. I want to feel happy. Yet as much as I want these things, it takes so much out of me to work at them. More than I know it should.
I feel like I am fighting so hard, for naught. Some days I don’t feel like I’m fighting at all, much less hard enough. But then I assess how much worse my state could be, based on how I’ve been in the past, and I can’t avoid acknowledging that I’m not doing as bad as I think I am. Yet, for me, it is not enough. I’m trying to move away from measuring my mental health in terms of how functional I am, and base it instead on my ability to effectively handle situations each day, in a healthy way. Because, not because I am still able to execute tasks, means that I’m doing “okay”.
But even being “okay”, mentally, is hard, when you’re always contending with body parts that feel foreign. Components that can easily reduce you to tears, because the situation you’re in feels so demoralizing (being in need of services that are not only unavailable in your country, but also significantly beyond your financial reach at the moment); and you’re having to eke out every last ounce of strength and hope that you possess, until such a time when you’re able to access these services (and afford them). Because you know, that if you ever consume that last bit of reserve in your tank, if you ever reach the point where you can’t go on, where giving up becomes an option, it’s game over.
It is extremely difficult to be whole – mentally and physically – when your body and mind are not aligned. And like an unfinished masterpiece, I still feel incomplete.