Content warnings:Suicidal thoughts
In an interesting turn of events, it turned out that a lot of my main issues in life had an explanation. I was able to finally point at something and go… “THIS, THIS IS WHY I HATE MYSELF”. This is my story, or the start of it at any rate. When questions I didn’t even know existed, started getting answers. It’s long, complicated, I’m sure to have missed something as I honestly have a bit of fuzzy memory of this time. But this is a text I needed to write.
To be perfectly honest, I had, given up. I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t figured it out when I did. And that was a complete fluke. I was suffering from pretty bad depression at this time, which, at the time of writing is… 2½ years ago? At any rate. That’s the first time an actual trans person came up on my radar in a way where we interacted relatively regularly. Let’s call her Alice [not real name].
Alice and I started chatting each other up on an IRC channel I joined. She was nerdy and we joked about a lot. We joked about her wanting to be a scandinavian girl, one thing led to the other and we kinda started questioning whether it could really be classified as a joke anymore. We were getting far too “into” it.
At some point, during all this, Alice, wanting to be open, went “btw, just so you know, I’m trans”. I had literally no reference frame for what to think here. I mean, it came at the perfect time in a way. Far enough into us knowing each other that, well, I already saw her for who she was, this whole “being trans” thing didn’t have a chance to color my view of her with speculations about what that word, “trans”, actually meant. My reaction was basically “Oh… interesting, that’s something I literally know nothing about.”
At least I hope it was, she didn’t chase me away like I had done anything wrong after she told me, so I can’t have been TOO insensitive at least, but my memory is, to be perfectly honest, kind of a blur.
At any rate, this… is something I don’t know anything about, I know it’s moooost likely a rather sensitive subject, and I shouldn’t blurt out too many weird questions before I had at least dipped my toes in to get a feel for what would be “private”, and what’s okay to be openly curious about. She did send me to a trans meme site at some point, and, you know, she caught the hint sooner than I did. When I, 29 pages down on that meme came back into IRC going “OMG I’M ON PAGE 29 AND CAN’T STOP!”, she (I’ve heard this after the fact), kinda started thinking “Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm”.
I stick around on that subreddit. Still, you know, being “totally cis, just liking the memes”, when a comment thread on a meme catches me into a thing. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but it was something that made me stop “observing” gender from the outside and start to wonder “how does gender relate to me?”.
Someone gave me the button test, for me I was questioning enby, so my button test was tailored towards that, but still… After an agonizing couple of minutes pondering the stupid button. I decided to push it.
I basically got a “congrats, you’ve started your journey” and… yeah, that was pretty much it. This is where it truly began for me, this is when the first crack in my shell appeared.
I knew myself, and I knew myself well, or rather I knew my REACTIONS to certain things well, I didn’t know myself at all. I’ve had a history of jumping into communities and getting SUUUPER into them for 3-6 months and then growing bored, and dropping out. I was pretty sure I was just “trying to fit into” this new group of people. Because wasn’t that a nice fantasy? Just, my problems could just disappear with gender stuff, and all would be fine and dandy. I didn’t trust it. I’ve never trusted anything that could be considered positive. And I was, at this point in my life, highly depressed and had a “I’m not gonna live past 2020” plan stuck in my head. What I was actually waiting for, was a “real reason to off myself”. Like I was far to comfortable in my depression nest to actually go do something that drastic. But, I had unpaid bills, bills that had been unpaid for years. It was just a matter of time before the Government Agency would come knock on my door and be like “hey we want your stuff”. I was waiting for that. When that happened, I would have a “worthy reason” to go jump off a bridge or something. That was still my plan.
You may think it’s weird, I was social and active on the Internet, found a meme subreddit funny, but still depressed to the point I had plans to take my own life. And, you’d be right. Depression is weird, I didn’t know why I didn’t want to live. I wasn’t unable to find things humorous, I wasn’t unable to laugh, I wasn’t unable to engage with people. I just, didn’t see the point in anything, I didn’t care. I could laugh and feel humor, but, it wasn’t enough, I still felt hollow. I kept quiet though, tried to keep up a good front. Well past the point where I didn’t have the energy to keep up a “perfect front”, people in my surrounding didn’t really pay much attention I don’t think. I still did it half-assed, and mental health is an uncomfortable subject, so my half-assed attempts at “pretending things were good” was enough to make people look the other way I think.
At any rate, I had now started questioning my gender, I didn’t think it’d work, I decided to take it slow because I knew I had a tendency to dive headfirst and then abandon things, and, it felt embarrassing and rude to jump head first into something that was a true and real thing for other people, and I just thought I was appropriating it at the time. I also suffered from major imposter syndrome.
At this point, I had started slowly trying to figure out what it meant “that I wasn’t a man”. I realized I wasn’t one at all, but I had no idea what it MEANT. And I didn’t, at the time, feel like anything else in particular either. So by lack of an internal sense of gender, I decided that agender is what makes most sense. So I adopted that label.
It felt … freeing, I had a circle of friends online who now didn’t treat me like a guy. Whatever that meant. They didn’t, at least, use he/him, and not being put in that pocket every time someone spoke of me felt better than it did before. I was still not convinced, I still thought I was just faking it, I was still going to die soon. But at least I got a breath of fresh air before then.
Around this time, Me and Alice realize that “Hmm, neither of us really feel this relationship tbqh, it was fun while it lasted but feelings just kinda dwindled etc.”. A month or so later, enter Eve [Also not real name]. She and I start chatting, feelings develop engagements are made. We were planning on moving in together, travel the world, settle down, do life.
Summer of 2018 is nearing its end. I’m starting to ponder these medical transition steps. I’ve now been in these circles for almost a year, well past the “pick up a community and drop it” time I’ve historically done. So this felt more sturdy part of “me” at the point. I started to actually consider things like medical transitioning stuff. The more I thought about it, the more thoughts like
I don’t wanna die before having experienced having boobs
Hmm… Bottom surgery is a bit extreme, but it does sound kinda fun
These new ideas, these new thoughts didn’t at all line up with how I perceived agender to apply to me. Like don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying “if you’re agender, you can’t think these things”, what I’m saying is, the mental model of how agender applied to ME wouldn’t think these things, so … something was up. And I started digging deeper
We need to go deeper.
Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio)
And one day, it just kinda slapped me in the face. It was the answer to… everything. Life. Universe. It was my 42. It was the answer to everything, and I had no idea what it meant. I’m a girl. I’m a girl so much it hurts. The suppressed sense of gender, I had just dug up in my own head wrecked havoc in my brain. It was utterly uncooperative with my more calm, analytical and planning parts. It just went “DO EVERYTHING AND DO IT NOW!”. It was scary, it was intimidating, it was enticing, it was all I ever wanted, but at the same time… Untrustworthy. It didn’t “stay still” long enough to properly introduce itself to the rest of my head, so there was a bit of internal conflict about “who was in control”, because the rest was used to “cooperating” to find the optimal route to take.
After a few hours?, days?, a week?, of this chaos, I decide that “okay new and scary feeling. I’ll try and cooperate with you, let’s ask my online friends to switch pronouns. We go by she/her, not they/them from now on, and then we’ll plan the next step together?”. That … worked, it slowed down, and started integrating with the rest of my sense of self. It’s kinda the glue that keeps me together now in a sense. For the first time I … wanted to live? Like… seriously, this whole “wanting to die bit” was far far less appealing. I wanted to give this a proper shot, and… for the first time in a very very very long time, I had hope. And… that hope, terrified the fucking shit out of me.