I have often said that true heartfelt empathy is a both a blessing and a curse.
I consider myself extremely empathetic and since I was young have found myself “feeling” other people far more than I should.
It causes me problems in the sense that I have a hard time handling crowds or holding it together when faced with the pain of another.
It also gives me pause when I experience my own issues. I tend to minimize the things I experience.
How can I possibly whine/cry/bitch about this thing when someone else right now is being tortured, assaulted, enslaved, betrayed or murdered?
Straight up…my problems don’t compare. So I feel guilty even entertaining some of my bullshit most days.
My family didn’t have money but I wasn’t totally poor growing up. I always had (old shitty second hand) clothes and some kind of food and a roof over my head. I was never physically or sexually abused. I also grew up with white privilege. Sure I suffered from extreme emotional neglect but whatever…there are people dealing with real issues somewhere as we speak.
So I’m still stuck with me. Guilty feelings about the whole thing and all. I am stuck in myself and can’t ignore what amounts to my first world problems.
All the real hurt and pain in the world and I’m going to cry because Gender Dysphoria is horrifying and I really feel like a woman on the inside. Who but some privileged asshole would even dare to share the he/she crumbles because they don’t like their reflection?
Hell, I live in Canada. I even have it easier with getting treatment for Gender Dysphoria than all but the most well-off trans brothers and sisters in the world. What about trans women of color in the US being murdered? What about all those who can’t get mental health and medical care they need?
How can I look myself in the eye and take myself seriously? Have I lost all perspective? My problems aren’t shit and nobody cares.
Once again though, I find myself stuck with me…and whatever problems (first world or otherwise) that I have. I’m a parent. I need to function somehow in life.
It’s tough to move ahead or embrace concepts like “self-care” when you feel your problems can’t possibly matter in the big picture.
As an adult I actually found some motivation in fully accepting that “nobody actually gives a shit” about my problems. I mean people can care but it doesn’t seem to help me much. The problem(s) still exist.
So where does this get me?
Simple: Better pull yourself up out of the abyss because there may never be a helping hand.
I feel ashamed but I have acted thirsty and pathetic as a young person. My life sucked but still…
There were a couple of times I’d be looking sad and so pathetically hoping someone might notice and come talk to me. I recognized it for what it really was and it didn’t repeat itself much.
As a parent I have seen friends of my daughters acting this way too. So I spoke to my kids about it. I even gave them (with some context) my super uplifting “nobody really cares” speech.
Trial and error parenting at its very best to be sure.
So I need to acknowledge Gender Dysphoria as the incredibly destructive force in my life that it is. I am being ripped apart and can barely function like I used to at all.
I am (as I like to say) Narnia-level-in-the closet. It doesn’t get any deeper. You’ll get to the back of the closet and I’m still miles away unseen.
I have a couple of friends who know who I really am but day-to-day I do this all alone in secret and it is crippling. The problem at hand far too large to cope with – especially since I was never equipped to cope at all.
I joined Twitter after reading Mia Violet’s “Yes, You Are Trans Enough”. If she found some comfort and acceptance there, maybe I could too.
…and I have. It’s a cesspool of vile humanity but if you choose who you follow just right you can make it a pretty nice supportive place for yourself.
I’m very thankful for the friends I have there. Their understanding really does help.
I follow one person who tries to motivate people out of their problems and seems to be pretty good at his messaging. Podcast, YouTube…the whole enchilada.
Yesterday though, he tweeted something I’m not sure I agree with. He suggested that anyone who retweets their own post needs to check their ego.
I find this far too simplistic.
I can only speak for myself but a person experiencing anything other than minor Gender Dysphoria (if there even is such a thing) has no self-opinion worth mentioning. They have no self at all. As far as mental health issues go – this one is savage.
So I see some optically thirsty stuff on Twitter.
“Look at this pic. Tell me I’m pretty.”
“Do I look like like a guy here?”
“I wish I was dead.”
“The world is better off with me.”
“I’m in tears as we speak.” (This was me a couple of times at least)
…or any one of numerous selfies posted every day.
Thirsty? Maybe but I see this more as survival for the poor soul dealing with Gender Dysphoria.
They are not themselves and desperately need to see themselves reflected back. In some cases this can be life or death. The rates of suicidal ideation and attempts are epic among transgender folk.
So are we really all just a bunch of self-absorbed narcissistic a-holes with first world problems? I don’t think so.
When I see a trans person post a selfie, sexy-selfie, or post about depression, suicide, sadness, hopelessness… I sit up and take note. I see through the ego and stare right into the pain because I am transgender and I have empathy.
I know a bunch about how this feels. It’s not good at all.
I will take time to advocate for and support (however imperfectly) my hurting brothers and sisters as much as I can.
Some of my stuff must come off as thirsty too. Hey look at my pic! Read what I say and care! Follow me or like my posts!
I feel like such a douche that passing 300 followers made me smile. Who gives a shit?
I even pass off my blog like I couldn’t care less if anyone ever read it. Somewhat true (as I write primarily for myself) but I’ll own being a bit thirsty…I wouldn’t mind if someone else read it and acknowledged it every once in a while.
I have posted pictures of myself dressed up, not because I didn’t care if anyone said anything, but because I really wanted someone to acknowledge the “woman” in the picture that I so desperately need to be.
I even think *gasp* that I may have once retweeted something that I liked because nobody responded.
The existential question…if nobody knows or sees me do I even exist?
First world problems? Maybe for me. Thirsty? Sure maybe a bit with some context for those afflicted with Gender Dysphoria.
As long as people are being authentic I have no issues with any of it.
State your pain in words or pictures. I feel you. I see you.