On Kindness and Transphobia [TW]

On Kindness and Transphobia [TW]

Someone from my past emailed me a few times this week. Claiming they were good listeners and wanted to have a relationship, “one soul to another”.

They then sent two emails following that, The first, on valentine’s day, defending my parents by saying they were merely imperfect and I’m overreacting about the abuse I suffered at their hands. The second, this morning, telling me that I will regret being trans and we should have an open discussion about my identity.

I told her to kindly fuck off, and she didn’t understand why I was mad and unkind.

When you start off a conversation with someone by saying their lived experience and identity isn’t valid, you lost the pretense of kindness and politeness and the benefit of the doubt. It doesn’t matter how “nice” you are when you say people are wrong for existing, it isn’t nice, it isn’t kind, it isn’t polite, and you deserve nothing less than the full wrath of whoever you told that to.

I’ve translated today’s emails so you see what I hear when I read this.

I asked her not to contact me after the first email. For someone good at listening, she doesn’t seem to understand boundaries. And this is a real-life example of how you don’t have even footing against people who spend their time dehumanizing you.

The reason I am posting this is because it helps me to dissect it and show you what I hear/see when people send me things like this and how cruel and dehumanizing it is. How pointless it is to try to convince them of my validity when they start from the place of trying to convince me not to be who I am.

I am kind, but I will not rollover for abuse, I will fight back, and then I will post the shit and explain what it is for everyone to see.

If you start off disregarding people’s existence as valid, you have waived your right to any benefit of the doubt and subsequent kindness.

I’m not even going to unpack how cruel that first email was in the first place, anyone who isn’t cis understands that by default and anyone who is cis, should go read about transphobia and how it effects people. I’m sure someone in the comments can get you started, but also google.

The Importance of Mourning

The Importance of Mourning

Something I’ve noticed in activist circles is an emphasis on pushing on past feelings to organize and do shit. Which I agree with to some extent – we can’t get stuck in sadness and let it stop us from doing things – however, it’s important to mourn and grieve and let ourselves feel and process the losses. If we don’t, we stuff it away and internalize it, and it becomes fuel for burnout later. If we don’t let ourselves have a moment to be sad and acknowledge the pain and the loss, it will build until we can no longer press on.

I didn’t mourn the deaths of my stillborn siblings until over 10 years had passed. It was harder to bear and process later than it would have been if I’d been allowed to mourn when I needed to, allowed to process when I needed to, instead of ignoring it and moving on because there was no time.

We shouldn’t lose ourselves in sadness, but we should give ourselves time to grieve.

Perpetual Horror

Perpetual Horror

Life lately has consisted of constantly staring this horrific reality in the face and not blinking. Then, taking what I see and figuring out how to make it better, by going through even more horror – the horror that got us here – and finding the way out.

I read H.P. Lovecraft at night because the ultimate horror of which we do not name has nothing on this timeline.

I’m going through old bible stories and remembering things from my childhood. Like how my parents would rather that we had been raptured because they didn’t like who I was getting married to, and since I’d experienced love (and loss) I’d felt everything I need to for one lifetime. Or how they told us, multiple times that if god were to whisper that us kids should be killed, they would do so without hesitating. I remembered how my mom worshipped the women we knew who almost died in labor for their dedication and faith.

Only now do I see this as obvious signs of depression that they decided to go ahead and verbally pass on to their children. I’ve never been afraid of death and it’s a struggle not to see it as a blissful void, resulting in a much needed break from this cruel reality.

My optimism looks like: Well, things are shit and are going to be for ever unless we maybe do something about it, and that might not even work, or we’ll die before it happens, but we can say we tried, which is better than nothing.

I keep going, I keep fighting, because it’s all I know how to do and I haven’t managed to die yet. What matters most is what we do next, where we go from here.

Occasionally I have glimpses of what it must feel like to have a normal relationship to life. One where you really adamantly don’t want to die instead of being blasé about it. The one where stopping feels sad instead of restful. My parents ripped that from us by spending all their time talking about how great it would be if we were dead and in heaven instead of alive. It always bothered me, because like, we weren’t dead – and committing suicide/non-god-sanctioned murder meant you’d go to hell – so?

It’s really hard to find that right now. To be anything but nonchalant about dying and our dystopian future. In some ways, it almost feels protective. Like one less thing I have to worry about, because I’m generally meh about my existence. Life right now is mimicking my childhood on a much grander scale and pushing all the CPTSD buttons and I do not appreciate it. But all the coping mechanisms I honed while there, are back. I can press on, because it’s all I know how to do, and maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll catch glimpses of things that feel vaguely hope-like again.

To Do List

To Do List

Shit I need to do today:

  • news interview
  • testosterone shot – make sure PCP knows which dose is correct, also, now that insurance exists, belated bloodwork, figure out how much anxiety is the lower dose of bupropion vs fascism keeping me awake at night, also make sure she fixes the script for syringes
  • get in touch with lawyer who wants to take on Rawstory pro bono
  • eat/make a grocery list bc we’re out of bread
  • write article #2 if the interview hasn’t drained me completely

What I want to do today:

  • curl up into a ball under blankets and sleep forever and never leave.

but that’s the exhaustion and depression from the exhaustion talking, and I should let myself buy a coffee and a bagel.

Birthday Feels/Survival Anxiety

Birthday Feels/Survival Anxiety

Holy shit.

In light of everything else happening, like fascism, it seems silly that the thing plaguing my mind would be my birthday. On one hand I feel like I shouldn’t even bother celebrating something so frivolous because, fascism. On the other, I have this unshakeable feeling that we might be in nuclear fallout by the time it rolls around, and if I survive to my birthday, that will be An Achievement.

Although given the last year, making it to my birthday already feels like An Achievement. So much has happened. The floor has fallen out from under my feet too many times to count, I barely know which way is up. All I can manage to do is keep fighting and finding new ways to fight for the future that I want to exist.

Nothing feels stable. I feel like more shoes could drop at any minute and leave me homeless, bankrupt, or starving. There’s nothing in my life that is actually pointing towards this happening, it’s just that everything feels so topsy turvy right now that it’s playing on my survival level anxieties.

I re-evaluate my life and the past year around my birthday. February is basically an entire month of introspection with the hope of some kind of party with booze, cake, and people who love me at the end of it. I can celebrate the fact that my existence continued and the people I care about also care about me.

It seems silly, but it feels really important.

If we even get there.

I’ve come so far in a lot of ways since last year, so much has changed – personally and in general. This time last year I was starting ABE classes and actually learning algebra for the first time. Today I’m writing articles about how to combat fascism, talking to reporters and city council, and getting the next dose of testosterone while trying to remember that I deserve to be paid for things I do.

I’m completely me now, and it’s great. I guess that’s worth celebrating.

 

Remind me of this when we get to my actual birthday.

 


I’m worried that I’ll be killed having helped nothing.

I’m worried about my chosen family dying or disappearing.

I wake up to this anxiety and go to sleep with it.

it’s really hard.