I must take a moment to share with you all what a truly amazing group of friends my wife and I have. We gather every Thursday night at our favorite club for "Family Night," and I am regularly left with a feeling of encouragement, love, and pride for this group of people. It is a rag-tag bunch of lesbians, gays, straights, drag queens, and trans folks (well, I am still the only one of those, so I guess that makes me special - jk), but they are good and loving people, every one.
I have never before enjoyed such unbridled and limitless friendship and love from a group of people. There is a reason it is called "Family Night," and I am proud to consider our friends my family. It is better than any family I could ever hope for! Whether it is open arms and hugs, or tough love; our friends always seem to be right there with just the words I need to hear in that moment. We encourage each other, we support each other, and we educate each other. I could not ask for more.
One of our closest friends in the group shared this little tidbit with me today, and I was so touched, I just had to share it with you. I did not create it, and I do not know for sure who I did, or I would give proper credit. Suffice to say that I whoever wrote these words was a very wise woman, and I am absolutely going to try to take her advice!
Love you all, and will write more soon.
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
I expressed recently my struggle with life by announcing the end, at least temporarily, of my writing efforts. By way of explanation, I had begun to feel that the writing was not actually helping, but that I was just perpetuating more of my own bullshit. I have struggled with anger and depression most of my life, and a lot of that anger and depression stems from elements of my life about which I have not been completely honest. I was not being honest with myself; and in my writing, I was not being honest with my readers. That is not to say that what I wrote was untrue – far from that. But, in truth, what I wrote was generally an optimized version of my reality.
I pretended that I had it figured out; that despite the hardships I have endured, I was on a path to enlightenment. The truth is that I was just hiding behind fancy words – sugarcoating depression with prose. It is time that I deal with the stark reality of my mental state. And so, I am going to share some uncomfortable truths with you, my friends. You may want to avert your eyes (I would not blame you). Understand I am not being sensationalistic; I am trying to clear the air, and I am trying to give myself a solid foundation from which to build a future. I hope you will bear with me.
I am unhappy most of the time. My outlook is bleak, and my attitude is burdened by the utter shame and disappointment I feel over the many failures in my life. I am ashamed of my lack of conviction and my fear of confrontation. I am embarrassed to admit that I am afraid to upset people, and that I feel an overwhelming need to be liked and appreciated. I try over and over to break the chains and patterns into which my life falls, but I continue to repeat the behaviors that cause the problems in my life. I am haunted by unvanquished demons from my past, and they invade even my happiest moments.
I feel guilt and hurt and pain over things I should long ago have released. I need to let go. I need to get past all the barriers that keep me from finding my true happiness. It is such a long list, but I must address it all and let it go:
- I have lived most of my life in the wrong body. I am afraid (maybe irrationally so) I will never fully be able to resolve the problem.
- I feel the crushing weight of the hardships I have forced upon my children. I robbed them of the things they held dear – an intact family, a loving father – and I cannot ever give those back. Every time I see that their smiles do not quite reach their eyes, I die a little inside. I have stolen my children’s happiness.
- I resent that I am now expected to provide the very things I failed to give my own daughters to another child.
- I feel guilty that I resent the expectations placed upon me, because I know they are reasonable. At the same time, I am so afraid that giving over to those expectations will hurt or diminish my relationship with my daughters, I just cannot bring myself to embrace the situation. That, too, makes me feel guilty.
- I continually feel like I am playing a part in someone else’s life story, and that mine will never stand on its own.
- I am afraid of personal confrontation and am embarrassed by that. And despite the more and more extreme ways in which my inability to “disappoint” others’ expectations of me puts me in worse and worse situations; I cannot seem to stop myself from playing my part in their versions of my life.
- I know that I was and am a disappointment to my genetic family, despite a lifetime of trying to make them proud of me. And I feel like no matter what I do, that will never change.
- I never had an authentic conversation with my mother or father about anything. They never cared to know me, and I never tried to know them. My father is gone, and I miss him very much, even though he would probably disown me if he were still here to see what I am doing in my life.
- I regret that I cannot have the kind of relationship with my family that I have always dreamed of, but the fact that my dream includes my place in the family as daughter, sister, granddaughter, and niece seems to negate the possibility of ever having that relationship. Still, I miss having a relationship with those parts of my past.
- I want people to like me. Even when I do not like someone, I so want the person to like me that I am not true to my own feelings toward him or her. On the very rare (practically nonexistent) occasions when I have been true to my feelings, I feel so terribly about it that I immediately reverse course.
- I resent my genetic family’s intentional exclusion of me from family events and efforts. This has always been a problem. It has reached new levels; however, since my coming out. What does it say, when someone would include you in a family email just to insure you knew that you were being excluded from the family?
- And most recently, I feel completely betrayed by the one person I should trust with every element of my life. I know that she was trying to help me, but I was so emotionally devastated and embarrassed by the events that arose out of her help, that I am still struggling to get past those feelings of… well… hurt, I guess.
There are so many more little demons, but I think this captures the big ones. You can see that there is a lot on my mind. The rub is that I understand the irrationality of most of this. I also know that much of it will resolve itself over time, and that I too have the power to resolve many of these on my own. Some may never really get better (my family, for example), but I have to find a way to move beyond them in my own life.
That is my goal for the new year – my early 2012 resolution. I must find ways to deal with and finally move past the demons from my past. This is going to be hard, but I think what we can take away from all this is… that…
Katey is back! Katey is back, and she is as healthy as ever (and she will get better).