It’s been a rough couple of weeks. It’s just now that I think I can find the words to talk about it. Not specifics. Not entirely. The next couple posts will talk about different aspects of what I’m going through.
With the news of the death of someone I was exchanging emails with late last summer, I backslid a lot. I’m not entirely sure if I’ve been changed forever by it. My outlook on several things has certainly changed. I’m slowly moving out of a phase of time when I was suicidal. My two friends have been concerned. And my outlook on transition has changed recently as well. And not for the good.
I know I don’t pass as a woman. That has been my goal from the start. Unfortunately, I waited too long. Testosterone has had plenty of time to do its damage. I’ve never been one to look in mirrors. It breaks my spirit to see a man facing me in a mirror. The only solution is facial surgery. I don’t have that kind of money. And I don’t know when or if I’ll ever have it.
Too say I’ve never had a good experience while presenting as female is an understatement. I’ve been harassed by police and chased down and beat up. It’s very true that those incidents happened a long time ago. And I thought I had worked past them this last summer. But, I don’t think I have. The anxiety I experienced before last summer has returned. I can’t leave the house presenting. Hell, I even have a hard time leaving the house while wearing male clothes. I just can’t get past the idea that someone is around the corner waiting to beat me up or kill me. When I go to the support group meetings, I wear my hoodie. When someone I don’t know walks in, I shut down. Tonight, I looked around the table and saw so many faces of people who pass. I felt embarrassed. So, I put the hood of my sweatshirt over my head and looked down at my phone. I even walked out before the end of the meeting. I couldn’t take being in there anymore. So many success stories. And sitting at the end of the table, was me. A failure.
I don’t know how they do it. I do know, actually. They pass. They don’t have to worry about being singled out as trans. I just had to stop writing for a minute. When I think about my situation too much, the thoughts of putting a gun in my mouth come back. Thankfully, I don’t own a gun. I’ll write about that at a later date.
Another thing that has me depressed and anxious is the situation I’ve put myself in. It’s my own damn fault. Now, I don’t know how to get out of it. When I came out on Twitter and Facebook, that changed things for me forever. When I would go to Ignite Boulder, people knew. The few people I do know there, have been awesome. But, the startup community in Boulder is very small. Everybody knows each other. And I know many of them. My long term goal has been to get a job there. But, I’m not sure how to handle it now that I can’t see myself transitioning anytime soon. If they know about me, I’ll never find a job. If they find out, I could lose a job just as fast as they hire me. The people in the know call me Becca. But, I’ll have to try to find work there as Robert. Then what? Keep a distance? Try to be invisible? I don’t know. I’ve had the opportunity to go to social events in Boulder recently. But, I’ve backed off at the last minute each time as I know there will be people I know there who will call me Becca. People will look at this longhaired, wide shouldered 200lb guy and wonder who they are referring too.
More than a few friends have told me they would like to see me give an Ignite talk. Heck, even the organizer sat across a table from me and asked if I’d do a talk. It didn’t help me when I saw the latest twist in finding new speakers. They wanted our friends to turn us in. I had to beg and cajole people I thought might turn me in to convince them I wasn’t ready. I’m not. Not by a long shot. I can’t breathe when thinking about talking in front of 800 people. Let alone, the only topic I can think of. It would be connected to my transition. That scares me more than just being onstage. I can’t imagine outing myself to 800 people in front of me. Oh, and I should mention that it’s streamed online and posted to Youtube later.
So, I’ve retracted from involvement in the community. I’ve also retracted a bit here at the house. I used to have my desk in the adjacent bedroom. I used it as an office. While going through some old boxes I had stowed away after I broke up with the girlfriend, I decided I wanted to move my desk into my bedroom. It just felt right. By the end of the day, I had my desk and television safely placed into my bedroom. Now, I feel a tad safer. Also, I’ve switched out my comforter again. Last fall, I exchanged comforters with one my roommate wasn’t using. I like it better than the one I had. But, it’s color is a little more feminine than mine. Mine has darker colors. I didn’t feel safe sleeping with the feminine one. So, I switched back to the more masculine one. Now, I can sleep a little bit better.
I’m not entirely sure where all these changes will lead me. I’m not sure if I should fight what feels safer. When I was feeling suicidal, my friends encouraged me to see my therapist. They even took to emailing the mother of a transwoman featured in a documentary to ask her advice. I’ve seen my therapist twice now. And I’m trying to work things out. Even though the suicidal thoughts still come and go, it’s nowhere like it has been most of my life.
I wish I could feel safe and be myself every day. I wish I could be free.