We have a fetish in The West with stories having a lesson or a moral. A story can’t just be a story. For some strange reason, we have a compulsion to have something to apply or learn when we hear a story. I blame Ancient Greece for this weird obsession.
Fine. You want to know what I’ve learned over the last few years?
You can lose everything and be happy again.
I walked away from my old life with nothing. I lost my wife, 24 hour access to my kids, my job, my faith, my home, my gender, my identity, and quite a few of my friends. Not only did I have to grieve but my Depression held me underwater until I was drowning. I never thought things would get better. None of the six combinations of medicines were able to stave off the deep sadness. I feared that my life was just going to be grief and emptiness forever. I truly believed that my best years were behind me. I was just killing time until I was dead.
I began to turn a corner when I got a full-time job at Whole Foods. I was buoyed even more when my lady asked me to be her girlfriend. When I started hormone replacement therapy and my breasts started to grow, I started smiling when I looked in the mirror. After being off of meds for about a year, my doctor prescribed a different, more affordable anti-anxiety med and, for the first time in years, happiness has been inside of me instead of being around me.
I lost everything.
Miraculously, I’ve found ways to be happy again.
Just block the fuckers.
I had a compulsion during the first year-and-a-half of my separation. I couldn’t stop checking my ex-wife’s Facebook account. It never made me happy. Ever. I fumed if she was on a vacation or at a concert… as far as I was concerned, my child support was paying for those trips and concerts. It cut me deeply when I saw pics of my old Couple Friends out with my ex and her new boyfriend. How could she smile when I was so miserable? How could my friends replace me so easily? Month after month I tortured myself by observing her happiness and financial freedom that had come at my expense.
All that changed when I got a notification from LinkedIn that a Private Investigator had checked out my profile. My divorce has not been amicable. At all. My paranoia ramped up that my ex and her lawyer were trying to dig up dirt on me for the divorce. I blocked my ex, her family, and her squad on Facebook and Instagram. I made both accounts private.
It’s the best decision I’ve ever made with regards to Social Media. I needed to protect myself from myself. I was the problem, not my ex.
A few months ago, when my girlfriend and I made our relationship Facebook Official, an obstuse, religious bitch scrolled back years in my ex-wife’s photos to like a picture of my nuclear family. She also commented “Beautiful family!” on the photo. I blocked her.
Just this morning, after I changed my profile pic to a feminine gender expression this past weekend, some obtuse, religious asshole scrolled back years in my pictures to like an older, masculine photo of me. (Funny enough, it was actually a picture of Moby. That’s how much I used to look like that dude.) I blocked the guy.
I lived most of the first 40 years of my life for other people. I obsessed over conflicts, desiring a way to make things right, even if it meant I had to cave on my values or beliefs. If I had to be a doormat for someone else to make them happy, I would lay down on the floor for them.
That’s no way to live.
Just block the fuckers and move on. They’ve already made up their minds about you, anyway.
Your nightmares are worse in your head than they are in real life.
My girlfriend and I went out to eat a few weeks ago. I was wearing what I wear to work every day: black skinny jeans, a tshirt, a zip-up hoodie, and a slouchy hat. I also had on a pair of earrings my girlfriend had given me and was wearing tinted chapstick. As we walked to our table, I watched a couple of people give me a double take. I was confused for a second. It took me a while to realize that they were trying to figure out if I was a man or a woman.
That exact scenario was my nightmare. I was terrified of being the freak. People would laugh at me. People would reject me. I would be a social outcast.
In that moment in the restaurant, I lived my nightmare… and it wasn’t a big deal after all. No one got up and left the restaurant. No one pointed and laughed. They noticed I was Trans and went back to eating their pizza.
I asked my girlfriend if that was the first time people were confused by me or if that was merely the first time I noticed people’s confusion when they looked at me. She told me it had been happening for a while. It still happens quite a bit. Guests in my store will say “excuse me, ma’am” when they need help then jerk a little when they realize that I was born a man. I smile inside that I already look feminine enough without makeup or a wig to pass, then I help the guest find what they need.
I don’t know what I was so afraid of. This isn’t the nightmare I thought it would be.
If you have any other questions about what I’ve learned, feel free to email me or comment on this post. I’d love to hear from you!