There is nothing you keep, there is only your reflection… – Manchester Orchestra – The Silence
One of the things I love about art (especially music) is its subjective nature.
It evokes something in the beholder that may or may not resemble any part of the artist’s vision.
I love the quoted lyric from the song above.
To me it speaks to our baggage. It really doesn’t define us…just an echo of our experiences. You don’t stare into your past – you stare into yourself and have your journey reflected back. This is how you got to where you find yourself today but the baggage isn’t YOU.
This brings me to when I find myself most vulnerable to my baggage and the insidious voice of Gender Dysphoria.
Last week I started Hormone Replacement Therapy. I haven’t been so much filled with joy as I have been handed some temporary reprieve from the worst of my dysphoria.
I can pull back though and observe that there are so many ups and (so many more) downs that a crash is likely at any moment. This isn’t being fatalistic…this is how this goes.
Not lacking for triggers in real life, I am also particularly vulnerable in the silence.
My quiet moments are extremely fertile ground for the enemy.
It would be to my mental health advantage to stay very social and busy. Unfortunately that’s not something I am able to do. I am in hiding. Very few people know “me”.
So the silence occurs a lot. Alone in my car or waking up at 3 in the morning (the witching hour) I am a target for my own fears and self-loathing.
About the time I work myself up to feeling some acceptance of who I am, the crash won’t be far behind.
In its most common form it’s like being hit by a 45 gallon drum’s worth of ice water right in the grill.
“My God. What was I thinking?!! I can never tell a soul about this! I can NEVER transition! I need to bury this shit right now and preserve my life and relationships!”
Between my acceptance and these moments where my resolve appears to crumble lay the peaks and numerous valleys that form the landscape of my Gender Dysphoria.
I had a similar negative epiphany the week before last while driving. The metaphoric ice water to the face. I almost had to pull over. “My God. How can you be this stupid? You can NEVER transition!”
In these moments it all seems so clear to me. This is CRAZY. This must not be allowed to continue.
Then it fades and I find myself right back to building up my acceptance of where I find myself. I need to break this cycle of self-harm. It’s not a fair process.
Nobody will ever accept me. I’ll be alone for the rest of my life.
How sad that it seems like there is a deal to be made where I deny my very existence. This shouldn’t be an option.
Fear. I grew up scared and now find myself absolutely terrified of what lies ahead.
…there is only your reflection. This fear isn’t me but it tells me where I have been.
I am exhausted by the process.
At this point I believe it’s time to set some of this on fire. I need to risk some of my life falling apart.
I saw that my girlfriend updated her Facebook profile pic this morning. She is absolutely beautiful.
My very first thought was, “She is so beautiful. She will be walking out of my life very soon.” I felt crushed. One pic…observed in the silence.
I’ve had this hanging over me for months. I drop hints but nothing registers with her. There will be no easy-version of this conversation to have. I cannot control this. I have to muster the courage to let it go and unburden myself.
This is the only way I can take the power away from the silence. I need to address my weaknesses so all that is left is strength.
I will need all I can get. I can’t exist as a broken, tortured person for much longer. The damage is real.
So for now I pray to sleep through the night and otherwise stay engaged enough in life to keep the silence away. I write (crap like this post), I engage friends on Twitter, I message one of the couple of people who actually know the real me, go to a counseling appointment or hit up the spa…
…all to keep up enough noise that I am not vulnerable to the megaphone that Gender Dysphoria wields like a weapon in the silence.