While I was “out,” Part 2 – partly out of the closet, fully out of the loopPosted: April 17, 2014
For roughly 6 years, I was living sort of as the person I envisioned myself to be. Prior to that, I’d gone through a bunch of intense periods of introspection (or maybe one really long period of continuous introspection is more like it), trying to find myself and how I identify.
By my mid-twenties, I had just kind of given up and said, “Good enough.” Tried to move on and live my life as best I could. (That doesn’t mean I stopped being introspective. It just means I tried to have a life despite that.) That life involved disconnecting from most things that were causing me too much stress and anxiety. The LGBT community was definitely on that list, but at the time, I would have shrugged it off and told you, “it’s not that important to me.”
The break-up was never about interpersonal drama or ideological disagreements. (Although, I did feel some of that. I strongly feel that a facilitator / leader can really make or break a group.) I broke away because it felt too sensitive to be in touch with what was going on, and to connect with others on this identity-based level
I didn’t stop being an activist / contributor, but I did stop focusing on things that hit too close to home. I immersed myself in endeavors such as Food Not Bombs, our local Free School, and benefits to raise money for a particular community space, Indymedia, etc. I overextended myself way past the point of burn-out. I’ve taken huge steps back. I’m currently at a precipice, figuring out what to throw my energies into next, and how to do it differently.
I was not very happy, but I had resigned myself to thinking that this is just how things are for me. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin. My anxiety levels were so high, on a normal day, on every normal day. I self-injured and shut-down (dissociated) regularly, just to cope with daily life. I forced myself to do so many things, all the time, out of fear of sinking into yet another depression. I was hyper-vigilant of my internal states and tried to regulate all my emotions – squish and squelch them, twist them into something else and rationalize them away. I was aware that I was capable of having a sex drive, but it was so far gone I didn’t have the slightest idea of how to coax it back. (And I really wanted it back.)
It’s not like my life was super stressful! I work as a janitor. I don’t have any dependents. I don’t have money concerns, health concerns, family drama, nothing! Haha.
I just did not want to worry any more about gender! I had a huge amount of body dysphoria. I felt totally lost a lot of the time. But it wasn’t going to be about gender. It was going to be about any number of other things. Because, bottom-line, trying to figure out if I should transition or not was stressing the hell out of me, for years and years and years. I did go through a (fortunately unsuccessful) time period where I said, OK, this is about gender. And I found a therapist to talk about that, specifically. (I was probably 28 at this point.) I thought I was headed on a neat and tidy (and difficult) path to finally sort this all out and probably start testosterone and transition into a visible man. Except, I never wanted to be a man. It’s just that I had backed myself into a corner, and this was my escape plan. But there was no way that could have worked; I knew myself too well. I never ended up connecting with the therapist, I never even convinced myself to begin with, and the whole plan just stalled out.
(This kinda ends abruptly, but part 3 will be coming soon. If you’re interested, here is part 1.)