Above the Fray . . . Far, Far Away

| Oct 31, 2016
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Well, here it is, Halloween weekend. Last year, I was excited to continue the tradition of going out in costume since just before transition. I was a “girl” my first year in 2010, an Angel in ‘11, a sexy gladiator in ‘12, a nurse in ‘14, and last year, Elsa from Frozen. Hmm, what happened to 2013? I honestly don’t remember. Weird.



This year is different. This year, I just don’t feel like dressing up and going out. It’s been a rough year. I remember last year on Halloween, I had a slight anxiety attack when I was out, but it quickly passed. It could have been the tight corset. Who knows?

Last night, I worked until 12 a.m. closing down the market section at my store, as I do each and every Saturday night. Fun times. I cried last night in the work bathroom for a short while. I have been crying way too much for comfort in the last year. Yes, girls cry more, but these cries are usually from depression or anxiety. As I “zone”, (pull product forward on the shelf to make it look pretty) my thoughts wander all over the place.

My days tend to be similar with some variation. There are Work days and Off days. I always have Mondays off and a floating day off usually Wed or Thursday. It usually goes something like this:

Get off work at 10 p.m. or 12 a.m. — Drive home in my new car enjoying the heated seats and the Sirius XM radio. Arrive home. Pet my kitty who greets me at the door. Have a snack. Go upstairs and get on either the computer or my phone (or write a TGForum article that is fast approaching the deadline). Stay up way too late looking at car modification parts or whatever the hot thing is with me. Enjoy the night, when anxiety finally abates. Look at the clock. Get pissed at myself for staying up late. Go to sleep. Ignore my alarm in the morning at 10, 11, or sometimes 12 p.m. Sleep too long because it feels good and my cat looks so cute and cozy snuggling in my curled arm for warmth. Finally get up. Take my sedative because the onset of tension and anxiety starts to well up my back. Get myself going, or not (sometimes I just feel so shitty that I hide under the covers).  Wait for pill to kick in, try to do stretching and some calisthenics and breathing. Realize that I only have less than 2 hours until work. Begrudgingly get ready. Stall because I am not feeling like working. Start to run late. Pill starts to kick in some but pre-work anxiety starts. Stall some more and do makeup in 10 minutes. Fly out the door, sometimes with a shitty breakfast in tow. Drive 27 miles to work. Run in hoping that I beat the 5 minute grace period of being late — sometimes I don’t make it. Try to calm for work. Breathe a lot. Work. Look forward to first break and my soft pretzel and Coke to get my spirits up and wake up a tiny bit. Smooth out until “lunch” at around 7:15. Take my second half pill as a booster. Hopefully smooth out and don’t have to cry at 8 or 9 p.m. because of depressing thoughts, missing my Dad, missing my Mom or brother, being scared about transition surgeries, getting passed over for a promotion again, feeling dead inside, dreading long-term anxiety, etc, etc- finish up work….

That’s pretty much my life. Days off I stay up too late, and then maybe have a good day and keep busy, maybe not because the anxiety just sticks with me. I’m starting to think that my staying up late, like right now, (3:37 a.m.) is causing me to not want to get up. But, I also think that the anti-depressant/anti-anxiety pill I take before I go to bed makes me groggy and sleepy in the morning.

I am a natural night owl. I used to have no problems staying up and getting up at 10, 11, or after noon. I just went about my day. It’s all relative really. I just get my eight hours a little later than most. When I get off work, I can’t just fall into bed. That’s my “evening” when you are supposed to do the fun stuff, just as an eight-to-fiver does after 6 p.m. before bed.

A California necessity.

A California necessity.

However, my mind is not doing what it used to do. Oh, I do occasionally get up early, and yes, sometimes I have lower anxiety, but not always. I don’t know what happens in my sleep that is causing so much discomfort and tension upon awakening. I DO know for a fact that many things are bothering me. 1. Transition surgeries  2. Being on my own and by myself way out here in California with not a lot of support or love, just a few friends who have their own lives.  3. Work stress over a certain boss and fear of getting hours cut, getting in trouble, etc.  4. Money stress/medical and IRS bills (Yes, I bought a car, but the writing was on the wall for my 11 year old Chevy and I NEED reliable, warrantied, transportation) 5. Medical stress (I lost my psychiatrist because she charged $600 per session and my insurance decided that that was too high.) [Editor’s Note: That’s too damned high.]

These are just some of the reasons for my anxiousness. Throw in loneliness, lack of contact or love, and a sink or swim area to live in as well. I have tried to solve some of these along the way. I am beginning to grow Bay Area hardened. I’ve tried to date with disastrous result.  But I believe one of the biggest stressors in my life is transition.

I just don’t know what the f**k to do. I am so conflicted. This year-long anxiety has got me re-evaluating everything. I keep asking myself, do you REALLY think that you can go through with such a life-changing, mentally and physically draining surgery while you do not have control of your emotions? It’s such a paradox. Some say that I should get the surgery to soothe my dysphoria and the anxiety will drain away. What, if it ends up being 10 times worse, or I end up with chronic pain or complications AND still have anxiety?

Does one risk major surgery in hopes that it soothes all of their dysphoria and anxiety? The weeks after GRS are hell. I have seen it up close and heard other’s stories. Can I really expect to go into that not at 100%? There is also the concern that I may not even want GRS. If I could step into a machine and have my parts rearranged like on Star Trek, I would probably do it. Obviously, they could put you back if you didn’t like it. Just throw her in reverse.

But, it’s not the 24th century. There is no machine. All there is, is a doctor with a scalpel and some nurses. I don’t know. I just don’t know where to go from here. I have a consult coming up in early November. I don’t know if I should go or not. Yes, it’s free. No, they won’t be cutting into me that day. It’s just talk. I may go. It’s going to be a $500 deposit for breast augmentation and $1000 deposit for GRS. I just don’t have that money. I don’t know if they have a sliding scale.

Above the fray.

Above the fray.

Having any surgeries to “fix” my dysphoria is the biggest decision of my life, and I am paying for it with anxiety. Moving to the Bay Area was a big decision. I did it and it has not turned out like I thought. I’m probably paying for that with anxiety. Being far away from family and old friends is not easy. Not being able to move on to a better job because of anxiety . . . causes me anxiety. I hate anxiety. I hate the word. I hate to write it. I hate that I have it. I struggle not to hate myself for having it.

I wish I could just become a bird and fly . . . far, far away. I would soar high and free, looking down at the fray below and think, those poor souls. I wish I could ride the wind as my feathers buffeted and the air swirled and lifted me higher and higher. I would survey the landscape all day long and drift lazily on the warm updrafts from the busy world below. Free as a bird, as they say.

Maybe in my next life….

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul


About the Author ()

I am a transwoman originally from Pittsburgh, PA. I have been living full time for 5 years. I work in retail but am an artist/Graphic Designer and aspiring writer. I tend to address the controversial in my writing. I would love to change the world one article at a time. I moved to The San Francisco Bay Area to start over, again. But recently moved back to the East Coast. The adventure continues...

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