L’Enfer, C’est Les Autres

When most people reach out and touch a red hot pan, they burn themselves. They learn not to touch the red hot pan. Me, I’ve lived my life hearing people tell me to keep touching that pan. Maybe it won’t burn you this time, they say. But it’s always red hot. And it always burns me.

I rarely go out. I’m much happier coming straight home from work every day. If I must leave the house, it’s because I’m out of some essential addictive foodstuffs. I venture out late, late at night. Mainly since it takes time to work up the nerve to go out. And because the later it is, the fewer people there are.

I don’t go out because I don’t want to be around people. I don’t want to be the target of their derision. I don’t want to feel the weight of expectations on how to talk and how to look. I don’t want to speak. I don’t want to be looked at. If I could have a super power, invisibility would be the one I choose in a heartbeat. Though.. Flying is pretty cool.

The number of people I spend time around is very, very limited nowadays. I don’t spend time at all anymore with my husband’s friends. The only one I spend time with is my husband’s friend A that I watch anime with on Saturday nights. A has his own set of problems, but tolerable enough. Because people must sexualize any relationship between a male and female, I must emphasize that it’d be a cold day in hell before I’d ever think of him that way.

A is pretty much it. My husband spends a lot of time with another friend F, who.. I can borderline stand. He’s one of those guys who effortlessly talks over you and who speaks in a way that suggests you don’t know anything at all. Whenever we play the simplest games he has to explain everything to me. Even when we play games I’ve played a dozen times before. And then I’m the asshole for pointing out that I’ve played this game before.

Housemate K? I’ve given up the delusion that we could be friends, much as I have with the Couple. Now I do the minimum related to him. We live together so I can’t exactly stop talking to him. I’ve stopped hoping he’ll help out with the house. I’ve stopped hoping he’ll empathize at all. Everything is about him. He’s sad, he’s anxious, he has a bad self image, and boy howdy he’ll let you know about it. There’s no room for others to show any hurt or pain because *K* is the Sad One who everyone must feel bad for. It must be nice for him, to feel so free to air every unhappiness in his mind. I have this blog, and that’s it for me. No other outlet.

Just the other day he made some mopey comment about how he can’t make friends. It took everything in me to resist either grabbing him by the shirt and shaking him, or making a snide comment. The Couple loves K. The only times they come over now is to spend time with K. Or to borrow stuff from us. Everyone likes K, and in fact he’s made a new friend group because he’s dating a girl several years his junior. He lives with his best friend and his wife (me) who’ve let him live there rent-free for years, but cleaning his pubes off the toilet rim is toooo hard. WOE IS K. His liff sooo harrrdddd.

Maybe once or twice a year I spend time with my high school friends. About 2-3 months ago I went over to Q’s house for a game night. She was the first friend I outed my short hair to. Because of all of them, she’s the one I feel closest to, she’s the one I met first of all my high school friends. But as I have learned the hard way, feeling close to someone doesn’t mean they feel close to you, or even that they have your back. There’s been several instances with Q that on reflection, indicate she’s not a very good friend sometimes. At the game night, in front of two new people and one friend I hadn’t seen in 15 years, she made the comment “Queen Legbeard cries before having sex.” Like she thought it was the funniest thing ever. She has no clue about my sex life. Unlike her, I don’t talk about mine. It was just a mean, spur of the moment comment.

I laughed it off. But it hurt that she could make a comment like that. Especially when she knows I’m struggling emotionally. She’s done it before. And she can’t keep secrets, it’s just too satisfying for her to blab everything I tell her.

I guess the only person I can really stand is Husband. And.. for his flaws, he does love me. Though he cannot comfort me, though he is a sponge for comfort himself, he keeps coming to me. He doesn’t stay away, even when I push him away.

One person. One person is enough.

Letting Go of Ideas

Last night I went home, took a moda, and kicked some a55.

Good thing is, moda and Wellbutrin seem to be compatible. The only thing I need to worry about is staying hydrated with two stimulants in my system.

Got to work late today. Sigh. Nothing done at work that I said I’d do, though. I just have zero motivation to start. I’m thinking about installing ColdTurkey on my work PC, just to deter me from going to reddit. I spend far too much time there. Mainly just reading the news, comments on news articles, and askreddit threads.

I can’t keep doing this. Vacation is at the end of the month. I need to light a fire under my rear, somehow.

Last night after being productive at home I spent a couple hours reading hoarders threads. I have a tendency to get excited about doing some new thing, buy the stuff for it, and never use it, or only use it once. Hence, reading about hoarding. I read something very interesting that stuck out to me: recovering from hoarding, as mild as mine is, means letting go of ideas. Ideas meaning, some new hobby or activity. I’ll think, I’ll start doing x or y because it sounds interesting. The idea itself is the exciting part, but when the stuff is bought, the excitement ends. I see myself doing the thing, but action doesn’t follow. Maybe because my perfectionism and the thought that I won’t be great at doing something for the first time kicks in.

And then the fact that I have all this stuff gives me anxiety. That it sits there, unused, gathering dust, gives me anxiety. That I’m not using it. But letting go of it? Well, I’ll do that hobby or activity one day, won’t I? The thought of, I shouldn’t get rid of something if I spent money on it. It’s a circular, self-supporting thought process that leads to the items remaining, gathering dust, and my anxiety about the items remaining continues. That’s where the “letting go of ideas” theme comes in. Donating stuff also alleviates the “wasting stuff is bad” feelings, because someone will be able to use what I give up.

I think overall, the relief at the stuff being gone will be higher than the disappointment that I just gave up on something. I’m not as driven or motivated or interesting as I think I am, in the optimistic side of my mind.

I need to free up space in my mind and my house, get rid of these half-baked plans and ideas. Getting the stuff gone or donated will be hard, but worth it in the end. Then I can finally focus on what I need to do: write and draw.

Writing and drawing, that’s a whole other issue. I’ve always thought I was good, or at least decent at writing fiction and drawing. It’s been a major prop for my diminished ego. But a mild talent doesn’t become anything more than that unless you do something with it. It shouldn’t be a prop for my ego, along the lines of “well, I know I’d be good at it if I tried.” I’m not good at it. And that’s okay. I’ve been so terrified of people seeing the stuff I write and draw, afraid of condemnation or mockery. I’ve also let the mild hoarding get in the way; “I can’t write or draw until I take care of this.” But it never gets taken care of.

The things that give me joy need priority in my life. I let these fleeting interests and accumulated stuff get in my way. They need to go.

More and more I get an understanding of the faulty system of my mind. More and more I begin to discard faulty beliefs. Is this a side effect of aging? Of relentless self-reflection? I don’t know. But the most important thing to acknowledge is that unless I start acting, nothing will change.

Banana Stickers

Day 8 taking Wellbutrin. The last two days have been weird. I do well during the day at work. Practically extroverted. But the second I get home, I check out mentally. Last night, I spent all night in bed reading after a productive day at work.

Today I slept in, the first time this week. I woke up naturally at 11:30 for about 8.5 hours of sleep, but chose to lay in bed in the warmth and comfort for another hour or so. I wonder if my mood problems have been exacerbated by lack of sleep. The WB is helping me immediately in some ways, but not helping me in others. Maybe that will be different in a few weeks.

I feel like I am never in the moment. I feel like I am just waiting for time to pass – what I’m waiting for, I don’t know.

The last few days I have been resolving to take a gym bag with me to work. I got as far as putting my athletic shoes on the floor in the bedroom, and I tried on a few pairs of workout pants to see if they still fit. But as for actually packing and taking it with me to work? Not yet. I think the reluctance stems from not wearing my hairpiece at work when I am in the gym. It will out me as wearing a hairpiece, if a coworker sees me in there without it. I am counting on working out when no one else is in there.. But maybe I should think about “coming out” with my short hair.

Today, it’s sunny finally. The storms of the last few days were nice, but I think the dimness affected me. Maybe tonight I will go home, take a VERY small amount of moda, and try to kick some a55.

WB makes it easier to complete tasks. Well, more like this: If I can push myself over the edge to START the task, WB insures that I complete it. It still doesn’t give me the kick of motivation I need to initiate, but the task seems overall less overwhelming.

I think I’m about ready to start being consistent. Or, at least trying. I need to develop a reward system, maybe a daily chart with stickers? I’m secretly a five year old who enjoys putting a smiley face or gold star sticker on something when I accomplish it. I searched in vain for affordable sheets of banana stickers ala Metalocalypse.

The first big thing to tackle: Sleep and showering.

I can get up at 9 or 9:30 for a while, but if I don’t go to bed at a proper time getting up early accomplishes nothing, as I spend the major portion of the day just waking up. I need to consistently go to bed at a regular time. It’s pressing that I do this, because in only a few weeks I will need to be getting up very early (6am or earlier) for vacation. There’s no way our friend who is hosting us on our trip will let my ass sleep in till 10 or 11 or 12 or 1.

The problem being that I facking love being up late. The dark, quiet coolness of the night is amazing. Less chance of being taken out of my head by interruptions. Well, suck it up.

Showering, now, that’s something I feel best doing every other day. As thin as my hair is, washing it every day wouldn’t be good. I make showering an ordeal, as I do everything else. My perfectionist ways make every task seem like an arduous event. I have to do it just right, my brain whispers, or don’t do it at all. So I don’t do it.

I think I can do this, though. I just need stickers. Lots and lots of stickers.

BANANA STICKERS.

bananastickersaretotallymetal

 

Terrible Pink Carpet

I’m having my first bad day since I started Wellbutrin.

As always, I’m in my own head, ruminating. Thinking about everything wrong about myself, questioning every relationship I have.

Disgust at the state of my fingers, which have been chewed bloody.

Bitterness towards the Couple, two friends I considered family only a year or two ago. Who I stopped speaking to.

The lack of connection with anyone. My husband wants me, I’m sure.. But does he only want the image of me that’s in his head, or the whole of me? Who would ever want the whole of me?

Anger and misery that I was unwanted by my father and despised by my stepmother.

Frustration that my sister seems to walk on eggshells around me, like I ever have or ever will explode at her or treat her badly.

Despair that I always assumed I was close to people, yet was left out of many things important to their lives that they shared with others.

Feeling like it’s too late to start writing and drawing again. That everyone else wants me to support their dreams, but no one wants to support mine.

All of these things, all at the same time.

I want to paint a picture of how my stepmother looked, the many times we stood in that hallway with the horrible pink carpet. I stared at that carpet, came to memorize the strands and the patterns as she screamed and screamed. Occasionally she’d demand I stop being a coward and look at her. Not content to allow me to endure her in some way. Her blue eyes were black beads tiny with hate and frustration. Though her hair was blonde and nicely styled, and her makeup immaculate, in those moments she was the ugliest person I’d ever seen, and have seen, since.

I wonder if that carpet is still there, in that little three bedroom ranch. Pink and terrible looking. My father refused to replace it. We had plastic runners going up and down the hallway, meeting with the strip from the front door that stretched to the kitchen. Made it hard to move quietly through the house, to avoid the wrath that came from merely being seen. Even now I move silently through my own house, to the point I startle my Husband and housemate when I suddenly appear in their midst. Habits die hard.

I wonder if I’m still in that ranch, in my mind. Cowering and afraid in my “rented” room. Eating stolen cookies and escaping into comic books I hid as well as I could.

Sadly, arson is a crime.

A Believing Heart is Your Magic

Day 5 of Wellbutrin. I’ve become an extroverted magical Japanese girl.

Sorry. I’ve just been watching too much Little Witch Academia.

The appointment last week went very well. The nurse practitioner suggested WB without my even having to ask.

So I’ve been taking it for five days. The NP said it would take up to 4-6 weeks to really hit a stride. I’m noticing a difference already. Before I started taking it, I feel like I gave preferential treatment to my depressive thoughts. On WB, I feel like I am standing at a distance to both my depressive thoughts (overeat, smoke, ignore Husband) and my functional thoughts (brush teeth, shower, clean, draw, write). Each group of thoughts has equal weight now, and if I turn towards the depressive thoughts it’s out of habit. Maybe as time goes by, I can train myself to turn more and more towards the functional thoughts. Break the habit.

One other thing I’ve noticed is that my constant irritation at being interrupted is nearly gone. When I came home on Friday, I was bombarded with the needs of others the second I stepped in the door. But the irritation wasn’t there. And it wasn’t there over the weekend too. I still overate and self-isolate, but that feels more like a choice than before. The desire to destroy the cuticles of my nails and leave them bloodied hasn’t gone, and in fact they are in an extremely poor state right now. But as the meds build up in my system, maybe I won’t give in to that compulsion as easily.

The punches are becoming easier to take. Just now, I went outside to have a smoke. Almost immediately, my smoker “buddies” gave each other looks, stubbed out their smokes and just went inside. At first I was like.. Well. What did I say? What did I do? Maybe they saw the state of my fingers. Maybe they just didn’t want to deal with my weird ass at that time. But it wasn’t a big deal. It didn’t send me spiraling into a self-loathing malaise like it might have. I just let it go.

I am waiting on a referral for therapy. I still need it. I find myself dealing with these realizations that sit heavy inside me, that ring true. I need help dealing with the physical and emotional neglect and abuse I suffered throughout childhood. I need help with the overwhelming need for approval that resulted from it. I need help working through the bitterness and unhealthy self-loathing that results from knowing I will never gain that approval. That being who I am, as a person, means the likelihood of approval is slim to none. I need help to stop perceiving other people as the enemy. To stop pushing others away when I think I won’t meet their expectations or if I perceive I’ve facked up socially.

I’ve been coming closer to a state of peace, over the last few months, but I have a ways to go still, and that will be hopefully sped up by a good therapist.

One day, maybe I’ll be someone who is naturally cheerful and lighthearted despite their shortcomings. That’s what I want to believe.

Self-Indulgent Prattling

Tomorrow is my first shrink appointment. Well, with a nurse practitioner. I don’t think I’ll bring up the gender stuff, just bring up the symptoms of the depression and anxiety I suffer and how they’re affecting my ability to function.

I think a course of meds may help me. I’ll request wellbutrin to start. No good taking something that’s just going to help me put more weight on. I tend to do very well on stimulants, nearly approaching normal in terms of ability to do things. I was diagnosed with ADD as a child, taking ritalin for a while until they thought I was “better.” I certainly still have executive functioning problems as an adult.

God, I hope they care. I really hope they do. I’m paying them, you know? I’d hope they care. I don’t know if I could take yet another doctor just kind of.. waiting for the appointment to be done.

I feel a discontent when I think about how according to society’s measuring stick, I’ll never measure up. I understand why masculine-leaning females transition to male. The gender binary, so entrenched. You’re a man or a woman, nothing in between. People think they need to be able to visually classify you at a single glance, and god help you if you’re not easy on the eyes. That brief and minor delay of “what are they” is too inconvenient for most.”How do I treat them,” because all interactions must be gendered and appropriate, just treating people neutrally until you know doesn’t seem to cross most people’s minds.

This may sound.. self-congratulatory or dumb, but I am proud of how I treated Noah back in the day. This was a good 8-10 years ago, before I even knew trans was a thing; I grew up in a conservative Midwestern town. I had no idea he was a transman, just that he was ambiguous in his appearance. I never forced the issue. I waited for him to bring it up, and treated him neutrally (non-gendered) until he did. If only I hadn’t had an anxiety attack while hanging out with him once; after that, we weren’t as close, until the temp job ended and I never saw him again.

I need to find like-minded friends. Some form of connection. If I rely on cis people, they may always be baffled by me. The mismatch between their gendered expectations and my NB/masculine-leaning personality leads to discomfort and eventually alienation. “Why is she so weird? Why doesn’t she pretty herself up?” These thoughts (probably) cross their minds. I’m so glad I’ve finally identified the disconnect between my efforts and other people. The revelations of the last few months have helped, considerably. I’ve noticed I have had fewer mentally ill vent posts. The hole is not as deep, and when I fall into it, I climb back out more quickly.

Perhaps I will post somewhere looking for a trans/NB-leaning-masculine penpal. Penpals still are a thing, there’s a subreddit for it I’ve been perusing. If anything else, sign up for a forum somewhere. Though, I’m not about to write letters on *paper*, how droll. Emailpal is better. There’s other options as well. Though I may be too old (31) maybe I could go to my local university’s LGBTQ events. I am an alumnus, so maybe that’s an in. Meetup might have some things too, as well as Craigslist. Craiglist could be.. dodgy though. Even creepers respond to platonic friend postings. They don’t read your posts.

 

Gaslighting

Reading my stepmother’s private messages from three years ago has messed me up.

I should have never read them. Though, it did give me confirmation of her views concerning me.

She’s very religious now. She likes friending Muslim men on Facebook who seem very religious as well. Nearly every post and comment she makes namedrops God, Jesus, Allah, you name it.

It’s amazing how hypocritical she is. I have always been a non-believer. I have had poor experiences with religious people and I can’t shake the association in my mind between unwarranted moral righteousness and bad behavior. She genuinely doesn’t believe her sh1t doesn’t stink because Jesus loves her. She doesn’t seek forgiveness and she has shown no indication whatsoever that she has ever considered me and my feelings. And yet, she demands that I treat her as a victim of my existence. “You were a child, you caused me hardship with your sheer being-there-ness. You were strange and unlikeable to me. Where is your slavish gratitude for my doing the bare minimums? Let’s not mention the physical and emotional abuse I leveled upon you because I’ve probably forgotten I did it anyway.”

And that’s where the disconnect comes from. I begin to question myself. “Was constant, random, unwarranted, and hateful screaming at me that bad? Was sitting at the dinner table with cold food while she screamed and dumped drinks on my head that bad? Was being forced to walk to the end of the driveway with my pants down that bad? Was constantly reading my diary and punishing me for it that bad? Was being dragged by the hair down the hallway for forgetting a baseball cap that bad? Was having things thrown at me that bad? Was my grinding, constant fear of her that bad? Was having my appearance constantly criticized that bad? Was knowing that no one was my advocate and that no one encouraged or protected me that bad?”

I need support. I need someone to say, it was that bad. I need someone to care. I try to talk to my husband about it, but he finds it unpleasant and paying attention detracts from whatever cool new project he has on his mind. My mother just.. I get the feeling she is in denial that I ever suffered. She is broken in that suffering and being nice to people who have caused you suffering is natural to her, part of her background day-to-day life. She was never my advocate, and something my stepmother told me rings true: “She is more like a sister to you than a mother.” Even a broken clock can be right once a day. The difference being, that my mother never treated me like a burden. Not even once.

I am surrounded by people who care, but don’t.. care. If caring costs them something, then suddenly it’s too much. It doesn’t do much to support my floundering sense of hope that one day I will find happiness in other people. I am, perhaps, broken too. There’s a reason I turn to objects, to fiction, to substances to find relief and release. Life has trained me to turn away from others when seeking comfort. It doesn’t help that when I do turn to others it is never what I hope it will be. Rather than connection, there is discomfort on their part. It indicates to me what I’ve always known deep down; that I will never find what I am looking for in others.

I haven’t yet fully committed to that notion, however. But I’m on a journey to that conclusion, and I’ve been forced along the path far faster than is healthy. I want to say that my husband’s love slows it down. Maybe it does, a little.

But it’s not enough.

Capillus Brevus es Libertas

So in love with my shorn head right now.

I really do feel liberated. When I cut away my hair I cut away my anxiety over how my hair looks. Can’t worry about having bouncy perfect thick hair if you don’t have much at all. I dealt the death stroke to my insecurity and fear over it.

I’m trying to restrict my feelings of “I can do anything” right now because I worry I might be a bit manic. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was bipolar, I do have mood swings. But for right now, everything feels right with the world. And that is a rare feeling for me to have.

Just.. knowing that I don’t have to poorly pretend I am a feminine female to others and that I can do what I want now, free of fear of judgement.. It’s amazing. Because judgement will happen no matter what I do, no matter how I look. It’s about judgement not even entering my mind. Not even a concern. Giving no facks.

I wear my hairpiece when I leave the house. But I honestly think I could get to a place where I could just out myself as having short hair. I’d like to drop some weight first, with my large build I could easily be mistaken as male. Surprisingly, I don’t really want to look butch, in fact in the last two days I’ve worn more makeup than I have in months. Which is fine. My hair was really the worst thing on my head. And now it’s gone. ::wiggles::

Capillus brevus es libertas. I decide what being a woman means, for me. No one else does. Not magazines, not commercials, not ads, not glamorous women in TV and movies, not the cruelty of other people, not my stepmother, not anyone.

I decide.

Adrift (Writing)

In the story I write, the main character reaches the bottom of his downward spiral. At this point, there is nothing good about life. He understands that this is his existence now, he understands the limitations of others, and that help is not something that people are willing or able to give. He attempts to coast through a grey life with no meaning by relying heavily on memories of when times were good, and when others cared about him. Those memories fade with each recall, losing their power to help him minimally function. Until they no longer help him.

And it occurred to me today, do I have good memories?

As much as my character suffers, he has something I do not – fond memories of times with other people. Solid relationships that he never questioned.

Such is the power of fiction. You can give someone who never existed the things you wanted for yourself but never had. The things that never existed for you. You can put that someone through hell, and feel cathartic release at how they handle or do not handle it. Many if not all writers, to some degree, practice this sublimation of desire – popularly referred to as Mary/Gary Sues. There’s nothing wrong with it; what makes a writer great is how artfully they conceal their intrusion into the world they have built.

In my story, much as in reality, the main character doesn’t handle hell. He doesn’t have any reason to. He is as a dry well, dark and cold and empty, isolated deep below the earth. He is how I allow myself to feel pain.

I lack a sense of self and identity because I channel all emotions into story telling, into building characters more real than myself. They are my self. I have told my husband this before- writing and drawing, the act of creation, are what I need to do to live. But the undeniable side product of creativity is vulnerability. I’ve wrestled with intense anxiety over this. Giving others more access to my inner workings has yet to produce anything other than pain. And yet creation is the only means I’ve identified for myself that purges it.

How odd, a process that purges pain also invites it. It must mean that it matters.

Bracing for Impact

The weekend was a wash. My cold from last week perfectly segued into the monthly sufferings common to most women. So, a weekend spent sitting on my rear, surfing reddit, watching tv, stuffing my face, reading web serials, the works. Also, just thinking.

I spend so much time in my head. I can spend hours just away in myself, no human contact, enriching and developing the story I’ve been building for years. A sci-fi story, with various influences. My maladaptive daydream, if I’m being honest. It’s an escape. I often do it to avoid the pervasive feeling that I need to be doing something else. I always feel this, it’s sort of a background miasma. It’s me vs. the constant need for perfection and accomplishment. Only, I don’t really want to be productive. I want to waste time. I want to do nothing.

Motivation to do anything but sit and pretend I’m someone else has been seriously lacking for the last few years. From my perspective it’s a lot of things. Constant employment, from childhood. The grinding fear of homelessness and not having enough. The damage to my psyche from my tender, loving stepmother and my caring father. For years, being emotionally braced in the crash position, waiting for impact. Only to find there was no impact, because I made it out of poverty after more than a decade. I married. Now there is no pressing disaster on the horizon, but I’m still waiting for collision.

It’s tiring. The constant sense of doom that pervades me is boring. Of being a powerless victim waiting for something bad to happen. Feelings of powerlessness and lack of control, of pretty much anything. Things I blame on being a woman. If I wasn’t a woman, why, I’d be confident and self-assured and able to have the life I wanted. Bunch of horsesh1t, the grass is always greener on the other side.

When can I wake up, and realize that one life is all I have? I am still young. I can do the things that I want. I can let people in, even if I can’t be the person they want me to be. I don’t have to be ultra-nice to compensate for my appearance. I can push back when people try to take advantage of me. I don’t have to cling to people who give me the time of day. I can write and do the things that I want to do, even if my anxiety punches me in the face with thoughts that I shouldn’t write or draw.

Stop bracing for impact. Stand up. Look around. Live. Enjoy things again.