Self-esteem…

Two months since I last wrote here.

I’ve been down. I am still down. Probably I’ve been down all my life, since I was a child. Back then I felt sad, different, inferior, weak. I felt uncomfortable, scared of other people. I felt safe with adults, because they would not attack me, or berate me (at least, too much). With equals, children, adolescents, as I was growing up, I always felt in danger, or at least, uncomfortable.

But this was my normality. I’ve never *ever* felt any different from this.

Now I’m trying to get up. Not like every other time I’ve tried to get up, by bashing myself, by repeating to myself that I must not break; that I must move on, like a horse under the strokes of a whip. I’ve finally identified that I’m depressed, and I’ve looked for help, to address this specific problem. I’m also reading David D. Burns “Feeling Good”, which I’ve been told it’s a nice book to get tools and methods to try to fix your depression.

I’m not aiming too high. I’m not aiming for happiness, for instance. I’m just looking to be “not depressed”. I can feel sad, and I will feel sad, but not in a pathological way.

Burns’ book says this is achieved by changing the way you think about things. Thoughts, distorted thoughts, are the way we interpret reality. Reality just *is*. We don’t have much power to change it. But we perceive reality, and our brain understands it, abstracts it into thoughts. And these thoughts sometimes hurt us, and cause us pain.

These thoughts are just simplifications, abstractions. Because they’re just that, they are flawed. They are distorted, because they don’t reflect the whole reality. Just a part of it. And sometimes, they’re only the parts of reality that make us despair.

I know I’ve had a difficult life, so far. One of the most disturbing, harming thoughts I’ve always had about it is that I should have started my transition much, much earlier. If I had done that, I would have had a happier life, I would be now a more adult person, instead of being like an adolescent now, and I would not have got into much of the trouble I’m now in. It’s easier to straighten a sapling that it is to fix a grown oak tree.

But I’ve, I am trying to stop bashing me for that. It was not my fault. I’m trying to learn this. My life was the way it was. But how I think about it is up to me.

I never had any chances of something different. All the messages I got at all times were telling me that I was flawed, weak, that I cried too much for a boy. I was taught from everywhere that gay people were wrong, and that transexual people were odd, strange, and ultimately deranged. I didn’t know what I was, especially when I started being concerned about my adolescence, about sex, about the things that drove me. I didn’t know anybody who was gay. I didn’t know any gay people until I was 15, and this person was seen as wrong, as bad, because he just came out and divorced his wife when he couldn’t stand living a life that wasn’t his.

The worst part was that I was told that I was lucky, because I had an open, tolerant family, and I could talk about sexuality, about ethics with them. I’ve wished so many times to be *just* gay, it would have been so easy…

But my family was not that open. Transexuals were seen as pitiable, and sex had to be restrained, saved for something else. For a higher goal. Not procreation, they were not like that. But sex had to be preserved for a meaningful, loving and lifelong relationship. Sex, for the sake of sex, was wrong, was lowly, was dehumanizing.

And sex had to be natural. Fetishes were weird. And people who had sex with too many people were, at least, irresponsible, and immature.

I had no alternatives. This was the “open” approach. And I had to feel lucky because I had people who were “open”.

I was too scared to move. I felt deeply wrong, being what I was: A bisexual transexual woman who was deeply kinky and fetishist, and who felt that could be involved with more than one partner at the time. I had everything set in place in my head, I was already defined, but I just felt that everything I was, in my most intimate core, was wrong and sick.

Wow, it would have been so easy being *just* gay…

Years later I met wonderful people. I met transexuals, and I saw they were just like me. I met bisexuals, who can love the very nature of people, and not get stuck in their genders, and I just love them. I met kinky people, who taught me what “respectful” means. I met polyamorous people, who showed me that love doesn’t just have to be restricted to one person to be “proper” love.

I just discovered then that I was not wrong. And as soon as I learnt that, I was able to move on.

It never was my fault to be like I am. I just had the bad luck to be born in an environment that made me thing I was flawed. I knew I had to go away from all of that, so I did as soon as I could.

I’ve always felt bad about studying this career that I didn’t like as much as others. I did that because I was told I could get more money doing this. I knew then I would need money. I labelled myself as a greedy person. Now I’m learning I’m not, I just knew, or felt, I would be needing a lot of money just to be secure, and to be able to become the person I am. I don’t feel guilty any more about having fought so hard to finish these studies that didn’t make me feel fulfilled. I just reached my goal – to be self-sufficient.

I never got any satisfying sex with people. Until recently, I’ve always felt inferior, damaged because of that. But you can’t have satisfying sex, unless you’re just being what you are. You can’t feel good if you’re just trying to please someone else, and trying to hide what you really are. Well, that is not my fault either. I’m not inferior, or worse at sex. It is not my fault, either. I’m not boring, or damaged, or bad. I’m just different. Maybe someday I will be able to be just myself at sex, and then maybe sex will be wonderful.

I feel this is going to be difficult, because people usually will tag me as weird. I will be in their eyes as a circus freak. I may feel a disappointment for heterosexual men who are worried that their masculinity will be damaged if they sleep with a person who was born male. I may feel a deception for lesbian women who feel tricked into believing I was just a girl. I don’t care. There will, there are people who will like me as I am. I have a friend who is just in my situation, and she feels bad because the only people who find her attractive are bisexuals. Well, I say, God bless bisexuals. I wouldn’t feel any bad if all of my partners in what remains of my life were bisexuals. I’m lucky for that. It’s a nice filter, actually.

All my life I’ve tried to comply to the standards of people who weren’t remotely like me. I’ve struggled so that people who didn’t like what I was liked me. And I’ve done that because I grew up in a world in which everybody was like that.

Now I realise I couldn’t have done better, and that I’m responsible for quite much of what I’ve got.

I didn’t lose my job, but that is because even when I’ve been feeling anxiety and depression, I’ve shown I cared about my work.

I didn’t lose my friends. I feel lucky for having the friends I have. But in the end, I’ve chosen them. I’ve chosen to get closer to people that was a bit more like me, and I’ve left behind lots of people I got close to just because they were there in the first place, and I needed so that I could have a beer with somebody. It’s quite much like other transexual people experience. When they open up, lots of people reject them, but they find new, better friends who accept them. I just did the same, but I chose who I filtered myself.

At the moment I’ve lost most of my family. I mean, I’ve given up on them. Only my parents, my brother, and a couple of relatives are in the know. Maybe when the rest of them know about me, maybe then they’ll give up on me. Or not. I don’t care much about this.

I am what I am. My transition has not been much different, or easier than anybody else, I guess. I did it when I felt I could. And this doesn’t make me a coward. I’ve fought hard, and the only thing I regret was to deny myself my own value, in trying to satisfy lots of people who didn’t deserve that, people I grew up around, and who taught me that I was wrong, and that I had to abide by their rules.

I am what I am, I like what I am, and I don’t have to feel guilty for that. I don’t have to please anybody, I just have to enjoy being with people who enjoys being with me. I don’t have to prove anything, because I’ve done always the best I could, and I don’t deserve being judged just because I couldn’t do better.

I just have to experience my life, the rest of it, from now on. I have the right of doing that. No less, no more. I have the right of being myself, and to feel that I, my feelings, my tastes, my inclinations, are perfectly fine. And I have the right to dismiss anyone who doesn’t agree with that.

My own value is not to be questioned, not even by me. And this feels good to know.

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Tired…

Today I feel a bit tired.

These past week I’ve been trying to keep breaking my bad habits. And I’ve got it right, mostly.

But then it comes a day like today. I’m tired, I feel incapable of reaching my goals. I doubt.

I keep saying to myself that my future life is going to be great. I force me to believe that I will eventually grow a sense of accomplishment, of fulfilment of my own desires. And this is likely to happen, because I will act only to advance in this direction. I do not represent an obstacle anymore.

I’m just tired. It’s quite a big effort trying to keep focused and realistic, trying not to fear that the future is going to be as ‘not what I want in my life’ as the past has been.

Things help, however. Yesterday I read this post. I have thought myself that idea, but it helps when you see someone else thinks the same. It helps when you can see you’re thinking right. I know that, even if some things I rely upon, if some people I like to be with, are not going to be in my future, well, it’s no big deal. Even if my future is not exactly as I imagine it, it doesn’t mean it has to be bad.

But today it is difficult for me to be optimistic.

I guess I need some rest…

Habits…

It’s strange this thing I’m feeling right now.

It feels a bit like peace.

I’m still feeling some anxiety, some nervousness, some uneasyness. But I’m feeling peace.

And I’m tired. I’m now constantly watching my own thoughts, trying to stop myself and think slowly whenever I start going down, or when I know I’m about to say or do something that is wrong.

But whenever I do this, it brings me peace.

Today I feel like it has been easier than yesterday. Not much, just a bit.

I hope that soon I’ll be hearing the noise of my own bad habits starting to crack.

Breakthrough…

Not two weeks ago I identified something wrong in how I processed my emotions. The last entry is about that.

For the last month I had been writing my thoughts, my feelings, whenever I felt anxious, or insignificant, or wrong.

Today I’ve reviewed all of that. It has been amazing.

In the past month I’ve managed to identify most of the emotions that make me feel bad. I’ve been able to label them. I’ve learnt from them a lot. In the end I came to discover how my feeling bad in my own skin, my lack of self esteem, was the underlying cause of everything.

I’m learning to control it. My feelings still hurt sometimes, but I’m now beginning to be able to control them.

The most amazing part is how everything fits. How everything makes sense. How I can consistently fix myself. And how I’ve been able to learn this mostly from my own reflections. I’ve had help, and I’ve read things that have helped me. But sometimes I’ve got an idea on my own first, and then I’ve seen it outside. Or at least, sometimes I perceive it like that. Probably it was all so mixed up that I’m deceiving myself a little.

Still, I’ve got this feeling of having progressed this far by myself. And it feels good. Very, very good.

I can learn from my own mistakes, because I’m willing to do all of the introspection I need. I’m quite honest, and I try not to fool myself so that I have not to bear with thoughts I can’t stand. I guess that being an accepting transexual person has trained me in this aspect.

I feel good, because I feel I have a mind that is able to recover, to regain balance. I feel reassured, I feel mature, and I feel healthy. I feel in control.

I still have lots of work to do. I know I will fall again, and then I’ll have to get up. But this is a huge reward in just a month.

I’m going to be fine.

Just as good…

I’ve been feeling lately a bit of anxiety.

I’ve been a bit needy with my friends. I’ve looked for contact, for conversation more intently than before. I’ve felt sometimes like I didn’t belong. And I’ve had quite a lot of fear of losing my friends.

All because I’ve been feeling small, childish, immature, inadequate, unexperienced.

Today a friend made me notice this was not healthy, because it causes an imbalance in the relationships.

It does. Because if I feel so inferior, I’m not a friend, I’m an admirer or something. I can’t offer my friendship in equal terms, I offer it because I feel it is the only way I’ll get somebody to appreciate me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this today.

It’s been just me the one who has messed all this up. I could possibly come up with some reasons why I did it. But I don’t care about that now. I want to fix it.

Because if I don’t fix it, I’m bound to relive the past. Because I’ve just come out of the closet and started living as myself, showing myself to the world. In all these years I’ve spent feeling ashamed of myself I’ve developed lots of bad habits when I deal with people. Because I’ve never put myself in a position of equality with the rest of the world.

And thus, I’ve tolerated being bullied at work. And I’ve tolerated being belittled and humiliated in two relationships I had. And I’ve pushed myself to my own limits just to buy love.

Even worse, my worse bully was me. I’ve had this feeling of guilt whenever I masturbated looking at whatever I liked, whenever I dressed up like a girl, whenever I’ve seen something I wasn’t supposed to like but I did. There I was, with my whip of guilt, causing myself pain.

And this is not healthy. This is bad for me, and for the people around me.

I am what I am. And I’m fine with that. I deserve love for my own sake, because I’m a good person. As good as anyone can be.

I’m going to teach myself to feel great. To not feel shame for being what I am, for liking what I like or for having had the past I’ve had.

I’m a great person. And I’m not going to accept less than that when I deal with people. I’m not going to beg for love. I’m not going to fear somebody leaving me, or not liking me. I’m not going to look for external validation, because so far I’ve got most of my life right on my own. And I’m going to not look for consolation or pity, because I’m not some poor creature that deserves it.

This is going to be a huge change. Even bigger than the physical transition, because I have these habits very thoroughly learned. And I’m going to have relapses, that’s going to happen because I have to unlearn a lot, and learn another lot. I don’t even know if I’m going to succeed in the long run. But I have got to try.

And I’m going to be okay.

Chess…

Last night was quite a restless night for me.

One of the big sources of anxiety for me these days is looking into the past. This feeling that I wasn’t playing my cards for my own sake, but for someone else. But I’m coming to terms with this, and I’m beginning to feel much better with myself.

There is another thing that causes me some discomfort, and this is the future. I’m starting to cope too with this one, and I’m beginning to feel better about it, but still I have some work to do here.

So, the future is unknown. We can lay some plans out, but we’ll never know how they will result. I’m still thinking, hoping, expecting, foreseeing possibilities as if I was playing chess, and I wanted to play all the game at once.

There are so many variables. My body, that’s still developing. My friends, who are the best and I want them to be with me for a long, long time. My girlfriend, who is making such a big effort adapting to this person who it turned out I was, so different to the person she first met. And me, my own mind, with a lot of different feelings and emotions and hopes and dreams.

And I want it all to happen now. I want all my worries, all my dreams, all my insecurities to resolve by themselves right now, because I’d like so much to see me so happy in the future.

But it needs time. And I have my turn to play, and the world has its turn then. And only this way is this game played. I can think ahead about everything that worries me. And I have this feeling that I’m in a rush, because of all that time that I had to spend preparing just the beginning of my own life, but that won’t make the world move faster.

Impatient, they already told me I was that.

Last night I thought I had time. Plenty of it, probably. It just took a couple of years and a lifetime of wishing and thinking and planning to start moving the wheels of this machine. And then it has just taken some months to change my life, and to prove to myself that I can do it right.

I hope I have still some years ahead, some decades probably. And that’s plenty of time to find how all these stories that are now beginning go on.

Lights out…

Today I’ve had an uneasy sleep.

In my mind, I was in the past, seven, eight years ago, when I lived in other city. I remembered how I went out, trying to find new places I could enjoy. There was this gothic club I only went to three times. It was the birthday of a friend’s coworker, and we went to that place. I was amazed when I first was there.

I returned there a couple of times only. I didn’t want to go alone. It felt so sad. And when I returned there, with friends, I felt so out of place, but so belonging there. My friends didn’t want to stay long, because they were looking for meat, and they wouldn’t stop complaining the whole night.

Whenever I could go to places I liked, my friends wouldn’t want to go there. They just wanted those stupid, mainstream, heteronormative places in which guys try desperately to hit on girls. A lot of nights I was the first one to go back home, and they all thought that something happened to me.

So it was not that I didn’t dare to do what I wanted. I tried, but it was so goddamn difficult. I tried to dress up and look nice, but I felt like I was wearing a costume always. Now it feels so different, because it’s just me, it’s my personality, not a costume anymore.

I tried to find people, but I didn’t know how to do it. I tried a couple of dating sites, but the experiences were horrible. I guess that even if I had found the right site, it would have been the same, because I was not me.

Every time I had a nice night, it was without my usual friends. I remember one gay pride night I went out with some gay friends of a friend. In the end, we were three people: This handsome, muscular gay guy, and a small, cute lesbian girl. And me and my lots of doubts, fears and unspoken thoughts. And we talked a lot. God, I guess they got bored of me at some point. I remember talking for hours about which actress was hotter with the lesbian girl, and it was so fun. It felt like connecting. And I remember I did verbalize then that I felt like I was trapped in a man’s body. I did express this in some other occasions, but I never thought I was sure of until now.

That night we talked about a crush I had on a girl those days. I had this fear, I’ve always had this fear of being in love with a girl who was a lesbian. It was not like I was a man and could think well, her loss or whatever men think. It was like I felt it could be great, but I had this prison, this restraint that would prevent me from being even spotted. I guess this was how Quasimodo felt.

However, even with the sad feelings, that night was great. But I still didn’t know if I belonged there.

I guess I’ve done all my life what actors do when they’re preparing a character. They try to get inside the character. They think the gestures, the clothing, the poses. They say, well, this guy wouldn’t say something like this. So this is what I did. I was taught that I was a heterosexual, cisgender guy. A pretty normal guy. The common guy next door. So I felt strange whenever I thought on doing something that didn’t go with that character. I felt like my character wouldn’t say, wouldn’t do something like that.

Every day I come to realise that I’ve done what I could do. Always. And it is a big relief. Still, it feels sad, but sadness is okay. I’ve always done my best, moving in the dark, without any lighthouses to help bring me home. I’ve always looked for what I liked, and I’ve had a glance at many other things. And I haven’t tried to change my character too much, because it was that, a character. I didn’t know how to do it, and I didn’t feel like it was going to be any better. If it works (more or less), don’t touch it, as they say.

And without any lights I’ve come home, and now I can do whatever I like. Now I’m not playing a character anymore.