I reckon this should come with a TW and/or CW for mentions of self harm and/or suicidal ideations. The last couple of days have been extremely hard for me. The last few months have had their share of ups and downs, but the last couple of days have been bad. I'm sure that some of my frustrations show in comments I make to my friends or jokes I make about taking certain actions. I try to make light of things or have a laugh at things but inside I struggle. For me, my struggles have been in the form of dysphoria around my genitals and it's become crippling, debilitating here lately.
Funnily enough, when I first started to question my gender I knew that I wanted bottom surgery, but it wasn't a priority. I felt, at the time, I was OK with my OEM equipment and I believed I was. But I guess as my transition as progressed and I've grown into my own womanhood that piece of equipment between my legs has become a source of self hatred for me.
I know that our genitals don't define who or what we are and I know that not all of us want or desire surgery and thats ok. You're still valid. Your genitals make don't make you any more or less a woman or a man. And I will argue with anyone of you that feel less than because of your genitals. And you won't like it when Lillith lectures you on how your genitals don't define you. Yet, I'm sure many of you may know exactly what I'm feeling as well. Maybe I've read too much TERF rhetoric. Maybe I've too much internalized transphobia about myself. I wish I had the answers.
It grows tiresome when you apply for grants for gender affirming surgeries and you're turned down. It's hard to remember that these people that provide us grants recieve hundreds or thousands of applicants per grant cycle. So what makes me more special than the next person? Or you reach out to places for legal help because you work for a multi billion dollar company and that company uses whats called a self funded healthcare plan. Which means they get to pick and choose what the choose to cover and not cover. And they choose not to cover gender affirming surgeries. You ask your company to remove the exclusions. You ask yearly for almost 4 years now. And you're always told no.
So you reach out to professionals to seek help in getting your company to remove those exclusions but you're told they can't help you. Sometimes there is no reason given. Sometimes they tell you that what your company does is perfectly legal. So you get frustrated. Maybe you seek out private health insurance. But at your age it will cost upwards of 500 a month, closer to 600 a month. You're already working 50 hours a week at your primary job and you're a parent so where do you find time to get a part time job? Your job allows you to take care of your family and you know that finding another job would mean struggling financially. You think about fund raising. You research it and the people that have had successful fund raising stories.
Your story doesn't stand out like theirs, you're not that special. You fear being one of the many who attempt to raise the 30k and fail. All the while, everytime you goto the bathroom, everytime you take a shower or get dressed, you're reminded of this piece of equipment between your legs that you despise. You hate it and you start to hate yourself because of it. Depression sets in. And for anyone that battles depression you know how your mind plays tricks on you. All that TERF rhetoric I mentioned? It comes back to haunt you. This is why they say 'Don't read the comments.'.
You start to think you aren't good enough. In my case, I think I'll never be whole. Or that I'm broken. Or my favorite, I'll never be a 'real' woman. And you know thats not true. Because you know that isn't what defines our womanhood or manhood. You know you don't feel that way about other members of the transgender community so why do you allow yourself to feel like that about yourself? But it keeps going on. You can't shake these thoughts. You may think about self harm. Maybe even think about cutting it off yourself. You try to be logical about it. You think, living only a mile from the EMS station you can make the call, cut it off or attempt to and EMS should have you to the hospital in time to save you. You won't have the surgery ofcourse, but that thing will be gone and thats whats most important right?
While you have those fun thoughts floating around you think about dating. What woman would love you? Lesbians don't like that equipment I have and who can blame them? I certainly don't like it. But you talk to people and they assure you that you're a woman and that you'll find someone and they would overlook that thing. But in your head, you think you're not good enough for another woman. You think you're not woman enough. The thought of undressing for someone and having that thing there, or knowing that you don't have the Feminine curves you're supposed to have makes you sick to your stomach. Will you ever be enough? Will you ever accept yourself?
So you cry a good old fashioned ugly cry. It becomes your norm. Maybe in the shower you sit there and cry until the water runs cold. Or you shut yourself in your room and have a few moments to sob before putting yourself back together to spend time with your family. It becomes even more debilitating. You can't seem to shake it. You can't seem to implement the skills your therapist has been trying to teach you for over 3 years to cope with things.
And then your mind decides to play with you a bit more. Have you ever had a dream so vivid, so realistic, that when you woke up you swear that it was all real until you learn it was just a dream?
I dreamnt I had bottom surgery. I dreamnt I had awoken from bottom surgery and having a body thats usually in pain, I felt the pain from my dream. I'm telling you, I was in heaven. The wieght of the world was off my shoulders.
I woke up. I got up to goto the bathroom and it was only then that I realized I had awoken from a dream into a nightmare. It was a cruel trick my mind played on me.
Disappointment. Sadness. Feelings of betrayal. You cry. You sit there and you cry.
And you struggle. You struggle with hopelessness. You struggle with just waking up everyday. You think that maybe it would be best to end things but you're too scared to do even that. It's always there, beneath the surface. Sometimes just below the surface, sometimes deeper. But its there, lurking, waiting for its chance to come and haunt you again. Will you give in and become part of the statistics or will you keep plugging away and putting one foot in front of the other? Maybe this is too real. Maybe these are things that should be kept quiet. And then again, maybe these are things that need to be said so others know that we aren't alone out there. Today, for now at least, I choose to live and fight another day.