Coping Mechanisms

It feels like my entire life I’ve been waiting to do things. Counting down, watching the clock, marking the days. The passage of time consumes our lives, and we only have precious little. When it comes to being transgender, I’ve been waiting a very long time, and with extended waiting comes a need to cope with things like depression. I’ve known for certain that I am trans for about 6 years now, and it has been one hell of a bumpy ride. Hopefully hearing about some of my experiences will help others who are experiencing the same. We all deal with these things differently.

Early on, there still seemed hope that I’d be able to accomplish something in the next year or two. I already had long hair, I was starting to get a collection of clothes, and I had a roommate who was also trans to help bounce ideas off of. At one point I had even scheduled an appointment with a therapist to try and get the ball rolling. Unfortunately, my motivation fizzled out and I grew terrified of what I was getting myself into. I know now that I was just trying to shun this side of me, for it is not an easy road and I’m not exactly one for tackling huge challenges like that. So, I bailed on the appointment, and some time later I had to move back home with my parents for a while. The military had always been my backup plan, and that was the next step forward. Air Force, please treat me well.

Joining the military brought with it many new challenges but also opportunities. First to go was my hair, and that was pretty crippling emotionally. I tried my best to just think of what I needed to do in life and how I needed some stability. For many, the military is a great place to hide from yourself and try to be the man or woman you were born to be. At the time, you couldn’t be openly trans, anyway, so why not just hide your degenerate self deep in the closet never to be seen again? If only it was that easy to deal with. Instead, I can think of more than one occasion where I’ve curled up on the floor and cried my eyes out. Not so tough and mentally stable now, was I? Instead, I started clinging on to the hope that someday the ban would be lifted, and following the news carefully to catch whatever was said on the subject. I had started collecting clothes and stuff secretly, again. For those who don’t really understand, dressing and acting differently from our preferred gender is actually pretty painful. Dressing up once in a while does wonders for emotional wellness, though getting caught would have likely been career-ending for me. Such a rebel.

Summer 2016 hit, and things changed. The ban was lifted, nobody would get discharged, and come October, we’d be able to transition in-service. I couldn’t sleep. I got so giddy and excited that I read every single news article about it, even though they all said the same thing. The more I read, though, the more terrified I grew. For the first time in years, I had to make a legitimate choice, and I couldn’t use the “it’s not allowed so I can’t do it anyway” excuse any longer. The rest of my life would be determined by this decision to transition or not. I wish I could say it was easy, but there’s so much to be both lost and gained. It took me about another month to make up my mind, but I finally chose what I thought would be the best for me in the long run. I weighed pros and cons of both choices, and it quickly dawned on me that no matter what I do, these feelings aren’t going away. Time heals wounds, but not this wound. It’s not a phase, this is the real life.

So that leaves me here, sitting in a tent at 3 am writing a blog that nobody even looks at. Well, maybe eventually, but this is more for me to get my ideas down in a journal-esqe format anyway. I’m still very much a male in appearance other than my skinny-ass body. I have appointments coming up in a few weeks, and with that hopefully I’ll actually make some progress in life. Whatever can be done while I’m slaving away working 72 hour weeks, the better off I’ll be when I finally go home. Head held high, I’m going to push through. Don’t give up, you magnificent bastards!

“I’m lookin’ at my watch
At all the time that’s been stolen
When I was carrying you
It seems I’ve tripped and I’ve fallen” – “Waste” by Smash Mouth

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