Thursday, December 18, 2014

12-18-2014 Entry: I Walk Alone


Sometimes all of this feels like it is just too much and too difficult to bear. When I wake up in the morning and look at myself in the mirror I feel disgust at the reflection I see. My heart breaks a little more each time I’m forced to see that man staring back at me, with all of his hair in the wrong places and his lack of hair in the right places. As I put on my “man clothes” that I have to wear to work I just want to crawl back into bed and go to sleep, not because I’m tired but because I can hardly stand the thought of having to play this gender role for even one more day. When I brush my hair and try out the new style that I’m hoping to one day pull off, I can’t help but notice the thinness of parts of my hair, thinness that is undoubtedly the result of male-pattern hair loss; you know, the kind that’s a result of a testosterone based hormone.

When I talk and I forget to raise my voice, the sound of the deepness of my male voice makes me cringe. When I do raise my voice to try to reach a more feminine range I can feel the discomfort of the muscles straining to achieve what I want from them, muscles that quickly grow weary after so many years of atrophy. Whenever I go to speak and I have to forcibly remember to raise my voice I feel a deep sense of discouragement that I have to keep trying so hard to sound different. Every time I stumble with my voice I have to fight the urge to beat up on myself for the failure.

I am convinced that a cisgender person can never truly understand what it is like to experience these emotions, to feel the totality of your physical being  as an alien vessel, one that is not only incorrect, but horribly wrong. Sometimes I feel so trapped, so imprisoned in this form. Sure, I can bob along, feeling the lightness of my realization that this inner me is a woman, but that realization is put into stark contrast whenever I catch a reflection of myself. How could the outside be so wrong? How could the outside reflect so poorly the person I am on the inside?

There really are no words for the despair I’m feeling about all of this. It’s the kind of despair that drives a person to choose self-inflicted death over having to bear its weight even one more day. I can completely understand why so many people who are like me (pre/early transition transgender) do attempt suicide rather than bear the crushing enormity of this affliction.

And that is what it is, an affliction. It is both a gift and an affliction, one that is thrust upon a person without any choice or “lifestyle” decision, despite what the small-minded and fearful would like to think. To be born the wrong sex, or to have a gender expression that does not conform to everything you are raised to believe about who you should be is just unbelievably difficult. So difficult that I’m finding even this in-depth description a hollow reflection of what I’m actually feeling or experiencing. How can I ever express the emotion I feel? How can I ever express the isolation I’m experiencing?

I feel a bit like the impossible girl, Clara Oswald, when she’s stuck in the Dalek body and doesn’t have the capacity to fully deal with the horror of her physical reality (yes, I just went all “Doctor Who” on you). I am Emma, listening to music and baking souffl├ęs in complete bliss inside of my little mental bubble, unable to comprehend the tragedy that’s occurred to my physical form.

So what is there to do? What am I supposed to do with this situation I find myself in; a situation that so few ever have to experience? What are my choices, really? As I see it, there are only two options, and it is very important for everyone to understand this because I am not alone in these options. I believe the vast majority of transgender people come to this exact cross-roads in their life and are forced to choose between these two options.

Option A: Give up. Give up the struggle of trying to fit into a gender role that is not only alien and wrong, but oppressive and detrimental to my well being. Give up trying to pretend that life will ever make sense or that any happiness will ever be achieved. Give up and just end it all. Proverbially throw in the towel on life and exit stage left via the route of your choice (blade, drugs, gun, awesome last ride in your car right over a cliff, etc.), or…

Option B: Find a way to make the outside match the inside enough to feel like there is some reason to go on. Embark on one of the most difficult journeys an individual can take into the deep, dark, unknown of gender transition. See a doctor, start hormones, become a freak of nature in the eyes of the majority as you slowly and painfully change into something that resembles the sex you desire. Unlearn everything you’ve been taught about how you should act and who you should be, and face the stark realization that identity is a deep ocean of confusion and fear. Learn ways to strengthen your defenses against the misunderstanding and hatred you might have to face by transgressing the “rules” about gender. Put everything you have in your life at risk in the hopes that what comes out on the other end will be something you can find happiness with, a happiness you might have to experience in solitude because the people you love and hold dear may just abandon you.

Those are my choices: give up or do the hardest, riskiest thing I’ve ever done. And that is where I am today, feeling the enormity of the road ahead of me.
-Emma

 

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I'm the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone
I walk alone
I walk a...

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah, aaah-ah,
Ah-ah, ah-ah, ah-ah

I'm walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line
Of the edge and where I walk alone

Read between the lines
Of what's fucked up and everything's alright
Check my vital signs
To know I'm still alive and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone
I walk alone”

-Green Day, Boulevard of Broken Dreams


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