Right now, I’m in a weird place. I really don’t know how to explain it, which is why (for some bizarre reason) I’m going to try. Maybe it’s desperation. I’m relying heavily on getting jacked up on painkillers to get me through the day but I’m down to my last few and I’m struggling to get hold of anymore, especially as they’re prescription strength (don’t even ask where I got the current ones from).I’m already having to take more to get the same effect, so I need a bigger supply. Buying over the counter ones aren’t as strong so I’ll just raise suspicion by visiting a shit load of pharmacies to buy them. Just to clarify (assuming anyone even reads this) that here in the UK there’s a legal limit on how many packs of painkillers you can buy at any one time from a shop. Right now, I’ve not had any yet so I’m struggling to focus on stuff. I don’t think I’m addicted, I just want to take them. That makes sense right? It does to me. It’s me choosing to take them, not me needing to. But knowing that I’ve only got a few left seems to have got me rushing or panicking. I don’t even know what I’m trying to say. I’ve been at the point where I’ve almost sat someone down and told them about me. Almost. There’s still so much fear and uncertainty but that’s now joined by pressure. With each day that I live with this, there’s a pressure inside my head that keeps building. I can feel it ready to explode at any moment now. That’s why getting doped up helps. Especially today when I have to sort stuff that could have been avoided. Yet again.
My best friend completed the London Marathon last weekend. Words cannot even begin to describe how proud of her I am. Seeing her go through months of training, stress and anxiety to come out the other end by taking home a medal. Right from the start, I knew she could do it. Problem is, until you believe in yourself, nothing gets done. She’s such an inspiration to me. Not just for the marathon either. With all that she’s been through and endured, she’s a stronger and more confident person than ever before. I think some of that inspiration has given me a nudge towards telling somebody. We tell each other everything, and I did say I’d open up to her once the marathon was over. If you remember from previous posts, the last thing I wanted to do was selfishly add to her problems whilst she was already having a difficult time. It’s just finding the right moment. This is some pretty fucking heavy stuff. Yeh the marathon is over but I don’t want to ruin her day either!!
I also draw inspiration from those around me too. Even people I don’t know. Yesterday, a customer came in so we could fix up her tattoo. It was done elsewhere, but done badly. It was meant to be a special tattoo that marked an important milestone in her life but instead she was left with something that ruined the meaning of why she wanted it in the first place. The milestone? She beat cancer. When I found out about what happened, I told her to come in and we’d fix it up for her free of charge. I don’t care that it was done by another studio (if you can even call them that) or that they offered to fix it for her. I couldn’t stand by and let her achievement be marked by some half-arsed tattoo that some studio copied (badly) from the internet. Yeh they offered to fix it for her but given how the original turned out, they’d only make it worse. Besides, if they couldn’t tell it was bad to begin with, then I can’t see how they’ll suddenly realise all the mistakes second time round. No, it needed to be perfect for her. She deserved better than that. We were chatting about all she’d gone through, from how it was discovered to the excruciating treatments and side effects. Cancer is something that affects the families as much as it does the sufferer: living each day not knowing what could happen, feeling totally helpless as something you’re not in control of makes life-changing decisions for you. Afterwards, I was left feeling a complete failure. Our customer beat cancer, despite the odds being stacked against her. My best friend worked her arse off and ran a marathon – a distance she’d never run before, not even during training. Yet, here’s me crying and whinging on a fucking blog about my own problems which, compared to others, are so insignificant. What the fuck is wrong with me? I need to get my shit together.
Communication has improved slightly with my other half. Still not amazing but it’s better than it was. Normally if I didn’t say anything, she’d never ask. About anything. We’d talk but only ever about general stuff. The kind of communication you have with your friends. There’s no exclusivity or deeper level of communication. It was always down to me to have to do the talking, which left me feeling like she didn’t care or that she’d prefer to avoid complicated stuff. Clearly she knows something is wrong. She just doesn’t know to what extent. Telling her any of this would simply break her heart. I’m not ready to do that to her. I don’t think I ever will to be honest, but at the same time it’s unfair of me to keep it from her. A part of me thinks she might already have guessed or have a suspicion. Not fully though. I think she must see me as some kind of hobbyist. Something quirky that I do. She’d be so ashamed of me though if she knew the full story. Disgusted and disappointed. Not just for the gender identity issue, for everything. I still can’t help but feel like I’ve lied to her from the beginning. The same can be said about everyone in my life, but more so for those I’m closest to. Ok, so I didn’t know then what I do now but I should still have said something as soon as I found out? I owe that to her and to my best friend. Maybe if I’d said something sooner, my other half would be happier now as she wouldn’t have me in her life, causing misery or embarrassment on a daily basis. A large part of me thinks I should make plans to move out first, then tell her. Let’s face it, in this scenario, I’m the cancer. I’m the one who’s going to suddenly ruin life as she knows it. As soon as she finds out, she’ll end this and me being around to remind her of what I’ve done to her would only make matters worse. I also need stronger tablets too. I’m really going to need them for when shit hits the fan. If I’m struggling to cope now, things will be much worse once she finds out. Yes, I need to prepare.
I’m still distancing myself from my family as I’ve decided it’s for the best. I’ll explain more about them some other time, but for now, just trust me. The less they know, the better. Of the few times they’ve messaged, there’s not been anything remotely significant. It’s just a general “how are you?” to which I reply “I’m fine, how are you?” Sometimes I get a response back, sometimes I don’t. If it’s from my sister, then I never expect anything. Then that would be it until the next “how are you?” in about a month’s time. If anything those messages are just to see if I’m still alive. They just aren’t able to understand anything more complicated than a flat tyre. Even then they’re collective response is usually something lame like “sort it out and just get on with the journey”.
I have to admit that despite making certain realisations, I still don’t have all the answers. Most people would naturally jump to conclusions and write me off. I don’t blame them. As much as the media has raised awareness of transgender or gender identity issues, it has only scratched the surface. Tell somebody you have gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria and they’ll automatically assume you want a gender reassignment (sex change) operation. To be honest, I used to be guilty of this. Until I allowed myself to think about how I feel, I used to think that sex change was a symptom of gender dysphoria. Maybe that ignorance was part of my denial or my way of avoiding the facts? Despite still being afraid to look into things further, I now know this isn’t true. The operation isn’t a symptom, it’s a solution. A possible solution. It’s not like getting an infection where something happens progressively. Even if I tell somebody, that doesn’t mean I’ll suddenly want an operation. There’s a lot more to it than that. My life has already been built up over the years. Built on what I used to know or thought I could hide. Years or laying incorrect foundations. I can’t simply throw it all away and start from the beginning. Not at this age. You hear of young kids or teenagers being diagnosed with gender dysphoria and starting their transition, which is amazing. They have their life ahead of them, at a time where the world is slowly waking up to it. Admittedly it’s happening very slowly but it’s better than nothing, right? So they’re young, they’re only just beginning to lay foundations for their future – which means they can lay the correct foundations. People like Stef Sanjati, Gigi and Jules Vu have not only come out as transgender at an early age but they’ve openly documented their transition on YouTube, helping to raise awareness and remove the stigma attached to gender dysphoria through their thousands of followers and supporters. Sure it’s still a struggle given all the prejudice and hate in this world, but they’re able to shape their life according to how they want it to be. By doing so in such a public way, they’re also helping to shape the future for others too. In a way, I’m jealous of people that are able to act upon it or at least have a choice, and more importantly: have the support. Right now, I’m not that old but I’m not that young either. However I’m too old to lay new foundations and make changes…and too young to wait around for death to solve the problem for me. I’m stuck. Like I was stuck before, only now I’ve moved on a bit. Just a bit. I knew from the very start that this journey of self-discovery wasn’t going to be an easy one. I just never realised that every single step would be so difficult, especially having nobody to talk to.
Featured image: by me
Video: “Draw My Life” via Julie Vu (YouTube)