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I’m Lost

November 15, 2013

There’s a scene in Lilo & Stitch (the saddest Disney movie ever made, by the way) where Lilo (a girl living with her older sister) is reading Stitch (an alien who crash landed on Earth) The Ugly Duckling. There’s a page in the book that shows the duckling, all alone, away from his family. “I’m lost!” he cries out. The next page shows him surrounded by his family after they found him.

In the movie, Stitch, who was the result of a genetic experiment, and therefore doesn’t have any biological family, takes the book from Lilo’s room, taking it out into the middle of the forest. He cries out, “I’m lost!” He hopes this will lead to him finding his family, finding a purpose in life. No one comes. He falls asleep in the forest waiting for them.

When I first saw this scene, I cried. It’s just so sad.

I feel a lot like Stitch lately. I feel lost. I feel as though I don’t really have true purpose in the world.

Yes, I have a mom, dad, siblings, and so on. It’s just that, when it comes to family that’s created by other friends and loved ones, I do feel lost. I feel so lost.

I’ve always dreamed about starting a family, and I’ve always wanted to have kids. I want to be a mother, a parent, a wife, a friend. I worry that these things aren’t in the cards for me.

I look back on my life and notice the pattern: every one of my friendships has dissolved. One would have to be delusional to think that the cause of these strained personal relationships is everyone else. I know that it’s not them, that it’s me. I know that there’s just something about me that drives people away. I know I’m the cause of this, and I know that no matter how much I try to fix things, to be a better person, to be a normal human being, I’ll always drive those closest to me away.

I’m lost.

I often wish that I just never existed. No, I’m not saying that I will hurt myself. I’m just saying that I wish that I wasn’t ever here in the first place. I feel as though my net impact on the world has been negative. I feel as though no matter how much I try to turn that around, I’m unable. Some might say that my writing has been helpful, but in terms of personal relationships, my life is broken because my personality is broken.

Like Stitch, here I am, sitting here yelling “I’m lost” into the empty forest.

Even still, I feel like an imposter. I’ve been out to everyone in my life, work and personal/social, since March. Still, I often feel like I shouldn’t be me when in public. Shame and a lifetime of hiding leads me to doubt myself more than may be healthy.

I don’t typically wear clothes that are too overtly feminine. I wear jeans. I wear t-shirts. I wear flats.

I don’t wear dresses. I don’t wear skirts. I don’t wear high heels. I am afraid of these items of clothing. I am afraid of being judged by those around me, and I am afraid of my own reflection.

Today I wrote a yellow blouse to work. The entire day, I felt extremely self conscious, afraid that I’m being read as a freak. I realize this is all in my head.

Anyway, this is just something I’ve been dealing with lately.

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My friend Alli is getting married to her longtime boyfriend Will sometime this month (congrats!). Alli and I have been close since long-before I came out as trans. Both of us can be cynical, bitter, apathetic; which is part of what made our friendship work. She was one of the first friends I came out to, and I’m glad that she and I have stayed in touch over the years.

I’ve managed to accomplish a lot of personal “firsts” over the past year, but it’s with her help that tonight I’ll be achieving another: attending a bachelorette party for the first time. Like most of these “firsts,” I enter this completely scared shitless.

Wish me luck, folks.

 

Survivors of the working class

September 20, 2013

Sweaty, shaking, I’m on my back, home from work. It shouldn’t be so emotionally draining to make it through a simple work week, but it is. My mind has endured the mental version of a marathon, doing its best to complete this endurance challenge. More and more, my anxiety gets the best of me, driving me to keep focus on every little task.

Am I breathing to loud? Am I walking okay? How does my voice sound? Do I feel like me?

In silence, in my apartment, alone, the ringing in my right ear from a concert last Saturday night persists. A high pitch with gradual decay, I try to block that noise out, but relent after I conclude that the mental energy required to ignore the ringing is more than I have left in me to spare.

I reach for a few prescription bottles, glancing at the labels. Digging an into the orange container labeled Sertraline, I pull 2 oval pulls from the bottle, snapping one between my index finger and thumb. With a mouthful of Diet Coke, I take the whole pill along with one of the halves and choke them down along with a circular pill from the bottle labeled Spironolactone and another from the bottle of alprazolam.

I rest my head back, allowing the ringing to take my complete attention, and I drift off to sleep with hope of finding the strength to survive another work week.

Get it out of your system. All of it. Random people of the internet, please take all the negative comments about transgender people, take all the slurs you plan to pepper into my future articles and just toss them in the comments section of this piece.

It’s frustrating to write something about suicide prevention or the pope or free speech and scroll down to the comments section to see people calling me a “freak,” “ugly,” “narcissistic,” and a host of other things completely unrelated to the post in question.

So let’s just get it all out of the way, all at once. Say whatever you want, no matter how hateful it may come off. Go ahead, just get it out of your system so next time you read something of mine, maybe you’ll actually be able to keep your comments related to the subject matter. 

Most days, some days

September 12, 2013

ImageMost days, I feel okay about myself, about my physical appearance. I feel okay about my face, about my body.

Other days, all I can do is see the flaws in myself, the things (in that moment, in my mind) that are beyond salvation. My hips. My narrow, narrow hips. Fuck. My shoulders, creating a wide frame. My jaw, large and angular. My face, so impossibly male.

It’s not that the flaws are particularly drastic, but rather that from time to time I feel so broken on the inside that I can’t help but see myself that way on the outside.

I decided to share an extremely personal story online the other day, and honestly, I don’t know if I should have. Maybe that one should have stayed with me, stayed hidden away in my head. There are some things the whole world doesn’t need to know.

Comments on these types of stories are predictably awful, with someone criticizing me for the method of suicide I used when I attempted it (this was the subject of my story) nearly a decade ago. More comments, on another story that had nothing to do with the fact that I’m transgender, were of the generic, “you look like a dude” variety.

I think on some level I agree with the comments, and that’s why my heart aches after reading them. You’re right, internet user, I should have used a razor, and sure, I do look like a dude.

Time Flies: A Year Ago…

September 6, 2013

Earlier today I realized that it’s been a year since one of the bigger milestones of my early transition. On September 3, 2012, I was at brunch when the server gendered me correctly, calling me “ma’am,” and referring to my partner and I as “ladies.” The feeling of someone looking at me and seeing me for who I really am was just amazing. It was the first time in my life I felt like me in the world.

Here I am a year later, and I almost never get called “sir” anymore. I’ve been in situations where I’ve run into people I used to see on a daily basis pre-transition, and they don’t see me as [birth name], they see me as Parker, as a woman.

I’ve come a long way since that first correct public gendering, but looking back on these little occasions (whether trans or not, just think about a time you felt validated) makes me smile, keeps me moving.

I’m coming up on another big anniversary: the 12 month mark of being on hormone replacement therapy (October 11, 2012). I never thought I’d be where I’m at right now. Life is wonderful.

I’m thinking of leaving social media for a bit, maybe discontinuing my blog. I write things down here, both the good and the bad, for two reasons:

  1. Maybe someone will be able to take something positive from this, and maybe it can be helpful to them in some capacity.
  2. It really helps me cope with bad days. Writing is an outlet for me. I don’t necessarily think I’m a great writer, but sometimes it’s just helpful to put thoughts into words.

With this being the case, as I use my blog writing as a way to alleviate my own anxiety and panic attacks, I understand that sometimes my writing might come off as me constantly complaining or being mopey. This isn’t the case. I like my life. I do. It’s just that when things are great, when things go perfectly, I don’t feel the need to write it all down.

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of mean questions, all sent anonymously, on my ask.fm page. I feel like these might be based in someone reading my entries here or other places, then using that information against me. These questions include:

  • Does it bother you that you aren’t passing?
  • Its obvious youre not sexually fulfilled. Why?
  • Your girlfriend is a runner. Why don’t you run with her and lose some of the chub you’ve gained on the hormones and what not? It’ll really help give you that curvy look people are into.
  • Be real, you’ve gained about 30-40 lbs
  • You obviously answer mean questions because you’re an attention whore and any interest feeds your ego. Narcissist!
  • How often do you feel discriminated against? Do you think sometimes it’s all in your head? Chicago is a progressive place. It seems like it happens to you more than others, in places far less welcoming. Perhaps an extension of your narcissism?

My answers to those questions can be found here.

I just don’t understand why someone would take to the internet just to be mean to me like that. Yes, I know that I have had a habit of getting in online arguments with people, being a jerk at times, and just overall not being someone enjoyable to be around. I’m really working on all of that. There’s not a thing in the world I wouldn’t do to help one of my friends. I love them all.

After hanging out with some friends last night (and having a few too many drinks), I found myself wandering the streets of Uptown alone for a while. At the time, the idea of taking a walk sounded great, but this morning I was reminded of the last time I was out late and drunk.

The following happened a little more than a year ago:

In August 2011 I was at a bar, hanging out with a friend after watching a football game. After having a few drinks, we decided to take off. My friend pushed on the exit, only to see it wouldn’t move. He had gone in and out of this door several times that night, so it didn’t occur to him that this door might now be locked.

A security guard begins yelling at my friend for trying to go through a locked door. My friend tells the security guard to cool down. The guard then shoves me into a wall. Up until this point, I was just standing there, waiting for the door to open. At that moment, several police officers walk in. Seeing this security guard holding me against a wall, they ask what’s going on. The security guard tells them that we were “trying to destroy property” (huh?) and that he was “just defending himself” from me. (both statements are entirely false)

Now, I had thought that I would at least be asked for my side of the story. That never happened. The police officer nearest me went on to slam my face into the wall, then knocked me to the ground. One officer kicked me in the ribs, bruising them. My head was slammed into the floor, breaking my nose. At this point, I blacked out.

When I regain my bearings, my friend and I are locked in a cell, handcuffed to a bar that runs along the back. I try to ask the nearest police officer why I’m in there. He simply says: “you know what you did.” (nope). He then went on to harass me, call me names, mock me.

I’m eventually moved into my own individual cell, with only a tiny glass window facing the hallway. I’m still not told why I’m being held or how long I’ll be there. I start to worry about my girlfriend, who didn’t know that I had been arrested. I had disappeared as far as she knew.

Finally, at 7:30am the following day, I’m released. My keys, the cash inside my wallet, shoe laces and phone were all missing. The person at the front desk could only tell me that they did not have them.

Without keys, I headed out into the world (from the police station on the south side), walking in the general direction of where I knew my girlfriend would be at that time. I show up, bloodied. She takes me home, I begin trying to recover.

I had been charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery. In the end, video evidence eventually proved that I did not do anything wrong, and the charges were dropped. Even still, I have nightmares about that night.

All this happened when I was presenting as a cis male. Now that I’m presenting as obviously trans in public on a more regular basis, I need to be even more cautious. The CPD arrests and beats first, asks questions never.