Saturday, December 28, 2013

Faith often seems more important in retrospect

I guess I'm the kind of person who learns from experience instead of following what I'm told is correct, for better or for worse. Looking back makes me feel like a rule follower, but living kinda doesn't.

**Trigger Warning**

What I mean is, I struggle with cutting. For those that don't understand, basically the idea is that I take a razor, and cut myself. Then I cover everything in rubbing alcohol, to prevent infection. On my leg first, then I was worried about scars showing so I moved to my hip. Then, on a day I learned beginning meeting with Endo for starting the time frame for hormones was gonna be postponed from next week (would have been two days ago) till Febuary 1 + longer time and some other things like some perceived persecution which is still not a good excuse, I made probably about 10-20 cuts all the way down my left arm. Don't get me wrong, I understand this is bad and am not encouraging this behavior - I even recognize it can be really dangerous if I'm not careful. It's just simply something I struggle with - all tied around the immense shame I feel at times over so many things related to this issue, and the hatred I have for my own male body.

Anyway, so my thoughts was, well first, this. Please watch this if you struggle with cutting, I'm glad I saw it when I did or I'd probably be in a worse condition, cause now at least I'm trying to stop. Laura (and Lorde) are two of my heroes. But once that arm cutting happened, like the time that I shaved my arms and legs (because I'm really hairy, it runs in the family, and I hate it), I thought it would just be there then heal in a few months and no-one would ever have to see or know. I mean I've learned after finally explaining my trans issues to my Bishop/therapist/friends/finally you buddies it's never helpful to hide things like that, and I did explain my struggles with cutting initially to my parents. They didn't understand ("How does that help"), which is understandable, I tried to explain the best I could, but in many ways I don't know if I'm sure myself - I mean it does help in the short term, don't get me wrong. But not in a good way. I mean, much of the shame and anger are relieved for a time, and I feel more sincerely myself, but tonight my family went to the temple.

Well, for anyone that's been there, at the temple I go to we change into white clothes that have short sleeves, then do blessings and baptize (for the dead) - I don't know much about other things we do since I'm not endowed yet, that happens once I go on a mission or get married in the temple/I'm not sure when else. The things for older people aren't really secret, they're just really sacred so we don't openly talk about them. So when changing into the white clothes, I looked down at my arm and there were the scars, covering the majority of the underside of my wrist. I think I mostly avoided people seeing them, but that involved folding my arms all the time/holding my arm akwardly against my side, and it really just ruined the whole experience for me. Instead of having a great opportunity to spend time in the lords house ("we get there through love", as a temple administrator explained well after asking me and my little bro and sis if we loved our dad - we all responded yes enthusiastically (he's amazing) and he said he could see it in our eyes. Same with our mom. Me and my peeps are so lucky.), I was terrified of people seeing my scars and judging me, not understanding the full situation. Especially my little bro and sis - I want to be a good example for them, or at least be the best loving sibling I can be to them while minimally embarrassing their friends, since that's the parent's job.

But there were times I was sitting there stressing about my arm scars, and I just wanted to break down in tears and go hug my dad. Gender Dysphoria is disrupting so much of my life. Me and my dad were talking a few days ago after spending one last meeting with a therapist (long story), and after quite a bit of discussion he just started crying, saying "I just feel so bad that such a good spirit like you has to go through this so early in your life. It seems like regardless of what you decide to do your ability to serve will be hampered." I cried freely too (there's been a lot of that the past few days, which is new and different to me, but I think helpful as opposed to painfully holding in my emotions), I mean besides that meaning so much to me, as my cousin said well (since we kinda get it from our grandma), I have a "sacrifical personality." There are times I've felt like I would gladly live through a painful torturous life/die and miss out on all future opportunities if it meant that someone else could be guaranteed to have a much more better life. More specifically, I just like service. It's what drives me, without the opportunity to make a difference in others lives I just think life seems meaningless. And maybe that's normal, but that's where I'm at.

So, that's really why I decided social transition may be necessary for me. It honestly doesn't have much at all to do with the fact that "I feel my personality and character (made of male and female parts as we all are) can be more accurately portrayed through a female medium," or the fact that I want to marry someone and have a family but I'm appalled at the thought of anyone (a girl and for the most part a guy) being attracted to my male self. I mean on that note, as I think I said earlier gender dysphoria has always been the big issue for me, not SSA - I didn't even realize I dealt with that till college. As even if I could marry my "dream guy" in the temple and have biological kids, it'd still be a rather torturous thing if I didn't feel like he perceived me as female. But all of that is just secondary. The main reason I finally decided that transition was necessary, that taking all these steps would be worth it is because I realized how much not taking care of Gender Dyphoria was hampering my ability to serve others, and make a difference in the world.

Depression causes all kinds of issues. Friends, well, any relationship where I wasn't out might have existed for them, but it was missing out on so much depth and meaning, for both of us. Things I've experienced now to some extent after coming out to close friends. Opportunities to build character where there was just intense inner hatred leading to lacking of self-confidence/self-doubt before. School, well, chances are I may not ever be able to marry in this life, so if that's the case career is especially even more important to me - it's one of the greatest opportunities (besides friends and now potentially trans-activism which is very important to) I have to make a positive difference in the life of others. That's why I picked Computer Engineering - I feel like my experience in that area combined with the pervasiveness of technology creates such a capacity to make a positive difference and help people. But dysphoria was getting to the point where I couldn't function in school. Not to mention the C- and B's in the end of 9th grade (otherwise I pretty much get A's - school has never really been a struggle for me), or C- and B's in the end of 12th grade, and the B+ at the start of college - this semester has been terrible. I mean I've missed like half my classes anyway, would break into like near panic attacks in labs and lectures, and focusing/motivation decided to over-microwave itself. So I'll probably end up with around a C average, which with a 4.0 last semester and like a 3.7 the semester before my cumulative GPA won't be too bad - but I've gotta keep a 3.6 between this and next semester to keep my full tuition scholarship, and chances are that won't happen. So I'll see. But so there's that terribly negative impact it's had on my career, friends (more detail could be given here, but that's the jist of it), and marriage. Not to mention the thing I usually feel I want to do most in my life right now is to serve an LDS mission - I committed to doing it about 12 or 13 due to leaders encouragement and such, but really became dedicated myself about 16 or 17, and studied pretty hard for that. Now (due to dysphoria and corresponding depression/bipolar stuff) that's not even an option, at least not yet :)

But yea, when pretty much all of my life goals around school and family and mission and friends have been negatively affected by Gender Dysphoria, I feel like it makes sense to transition - so I can have a something that's extremely lacking before, a better opportunity to serve others. Exactly how this works out in the future I don't know, but the immensity of importance and feelings behind coming out and potentially transition (even just like having a little longer hair and wearing more gender-neutral clothes) is something that I can understand why it would be hard to understand, but is endlessly beautifully significant. So here goes.

I'm still gonna ease into social transition and other things - and feel it out, make sure I'm comfortable with everything to a large extent because the last thing I want to do is cause more dysphoria by presenting as one of the males or females I'm NOT. But it should be a fun journey, I'll keep myself updated as I go, don't worry.

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