Wednesday was a stormy day in Southeast PA, as the remnants of the hurricane that hit Mexico a few days before passed over us.
It was a very bad day for me.
I'd had a couple of very bad days in a row. On one of the FB forums where I post, (usually about trans stuff- doing outreach. It's a page dedicated to the town where I live) suddenly everyone started insulting me. I was accused of being a "pedophile enabler" (because I'm a Penn Stater, I guess) by three different people, a "bitch" more times than I can count, an "idiot" several times, "self centered" several times, and misgendered more times than I can count.
Two of the people who called me a pedophile enabler retracted their statements. The third did not, even when I threatened legal action to clear my name. He told everyone my threat, and they jumped all over me for that as well.
So I figured I must be a horrible person for so many people to gang up like that. I cried a lot those two days.
Like many transpeople, I have VERY strong armor. But after such a continued and relentless assault, it got through. I felt completely worthless.
I went to work Wednesday morning. We are critically short on staff at the bookstore- not even having enough to run the store (corporate cut hours again.) Sound familiar? Typical corporation: Do more with less people on the front lines while someone at the corporate office uses his Six Sigma to get a nice hefty bonus.
Also, it was a full moon, and the customers were flat out nasty.
A quick sidebar here: the store is being redone with the Christmas displays (yes, already) so there is a LOT to do. I was assigned to the music department, which was a shambles. I had no idea what had been done and what hadn't, and the notes left behind were vague, When there are lots of things to get done, I shift into high gear, as things won't get completed if I don't. During times like these, my internal monologue sounds something like this: "Get it done, you useless bitch! Come on! Faster faster! Work harder! What good are you? Get it DONE! Oh, now look what you've done you f**king loser! A f**king idiot could do a better job! Come on- MOVE!"
Ok, so between the rude, needy customers (of which there were many), trying to get things done, and everything else, I completely broke down on my break. I couldn't stop crying; no matter how hard I tried. I asked the store manager if I could go home, and she allowed it.
Standing outside the break room was my dear friend Julie. She's a very successful lawyer who transitioned some time ago, and she's "Big Sister" to another dear friend of mine, Jen L. She read a facialbook post I'd made about how I felt that morning, and stopped by to see me. I didn't know she was coming. She walked me out the door as I desperately tried to keep myself from bawling on the sales floor. Outside, I cried on her shoulder a little, and she offered to go somewhere and buy me a cup of coffee and talk. Well, I don't drink coffee, but you get the idea. I said "no" because I just wanted to back to the apartment and cry myself to sleep.
I texted a couple of people, like my dear friends Olivia Helm and Victoria D, and they said I should call, but I just couldn't.
Better times: Last Friday in New Hope with Samantha and Linda
When I got in my car, I called Wife, but I was a blubbering mess, so I don't think she understood a word I said. I cried all the way home, and for an hour after arriving. I turned off my phone so I wouldn't have to speak to anyone.
So, what was I thinking and feeling at that time?
I felt like I'm completely useless. I've destroyed my life. I cant even get a real job. My marriage is over, and my daughter is probably going to be a mess psychologically. And for what? To be my true self? What if my true self is as horrible as everyone says I am? And am I my true self? I'll never in my life have the money for surgery. I guess I don't deserve to get it. Transition is a rich person's privilege. We poor folk end up dead in the gutter.
I didn't know what to do at this point. When I called my wife , she suggested I go over to her place (mother in law is gone for the week.) That sounded great, I thought sarcastically- "I could be ignored by my daughter as she plays games on her tablet, and ignored by Wife as she watches tv. At least the dog would be happy to see me."
I laid in my bed for I don't know how long, bawling. My pillow was soaked with tears and snot. My roomie, Linda, tried her best to cheer me up, but I couldn't stop crying. All I wanted to do was die. I wanted the misery to end.
So I cried, and Linda kept me talking. Eventually, I stopped crying, and Linda offered to take me out for a drink. Really, neither of us have enough money to do that, but she insisted we should- her treat. Linda left the room to get ready, and I curled up in a ball. I think I fell asleep. Eventually, I awoke, and sent an email to my support group (that email later formed the core of this entry.) I received many positive responses, including one from Dr. Osborne, my former therapist, now retired.
Linda and I went to one of our haunts, Rock Bottom, and had a beer and appetizers. I felt my mood stabilize a bit. We walked around the King of Prussia mall a little, then went to the grocery store to pick up a few things. On the way back to the apartment, we stopped at MIL's place, where I briefly saw Wife, Daughter, and Nittany. I received hugs and words of encouragement, and I was able to pet my dog.
Back at the apartment, I changed into my shorts and tank top and climbed into bed. I just wanted the day to be over. Sleep finally took me, and I awoke this morning feeling better, but still fragile.
I worked the day shift again today, and again I was assigned music. I managed to complete more tasks, and the day went much better. I went home, made dinner (frozen pizza) and Linda and I watched Halloween as we ate. I also stopped over to see Wife, Daughter, and Nittany briefly.
Daughter thought Nittany needed a costume
So- what happened? What set me off? I'm not sure. I think all the bullying struck a nerve and ripped open all my insecurities. It was like having all the negative thoughts in my head attack at the same time, reinforced by the taunts of people I don't even know.
Being trans, I occasionally will hear taunts and remarks directed at me. The direct remarks are fewer now that my hair is growing out, and my voice improves, but it still happens with some frequency. Usually, I ignore it. After all, the Haters don't determine my reality. Only I do. I managed to get through a really bad few days, and came through to the other side. Tomorrow, I have off from work. Linda and I will be attending two parties locally. On Halloween, I will start by taking my daughter trick or treating at the King of Prussia mall (it's an organized event) then go to work until 11 PM.
Halloween night will mark the seventh year since my feminine side re-awakened. Seven years. I think about how much has changed in that time. If someone had told me that night that I'd end up transitioning, with all the good and bad that has resulted, would I still have done it?
Halloween 2008 with friends (L to R): Rachel, Geri, Me, Elizabeth
Yes. I really believe that if I hadn't rediscovered myself, that I'd be dead by now, either due to drinking or suicide. The Pain of suppressing my True Self had built to a boiling point, and I didn't even know it. Looking back now, I can't believe I kept it down for so long.
Seven years later, I'm living my Truth. Obviously, I still have Bad Days, but I have, to date, survived them.
And if I can do it, so can you!
Be Well, and Happy Halloween!