COVID-19 PSA

Do you feel like you’re in the twilight zone? Scared about getting sick and how that could effect other people in your life? Unable to do things you normally would? Has your schedule and routine changed? Worried about not being able to work or childcare? Do you feel uncertain and frustrated that every day you have to adjust to a new normal? Feeling isolated and alone? Are you in a panic trying to do All The Things or are you pretending everything’s normal?

As someone who has experienced a great amount of loss and trauma all of this feels very familiar… and I’m not gonna lie; it sucks. Feeling anxious, scared, sad, out of whack, angry, alone is hard. However, it’s very normal and chances are everyone is feeling exactly the same way.

Besides social distancing I can’t do much to stop this all of this from happening. I wish I could; I don’t want anyone to feel anything remotely similar to what I’ve gone through. That’s partially why this is so difficult; it’s scary when we feel things are out of our control.

What I can do is offer some “pro-tips” that I’ve learned:

1. Do the best you can with what you have. If you can’t do something; modify it. In the words of Tim Gun, “Make it work.”

2. Be grateful for what you do have. When times get tough the little things in life are lot sweeter.

3. Keep a routine. Work out at home the same time you used to go to the gym. Video chat with a friend and eat dinner together the same day you would hang out.

4. When someone offers help – say yes.

5. Ask for help and be specific. People usually want to help, but they don’t know how.

6. Be kind. You never know what someone else is going through.

6. Talk about The Big Scary Thing when you need to. Call a friend or family member, join an online support group, or find a counselor.

7. Make time to chat and do things that aren’t The Big Scary Thing: Send a funny cat video to a friend, watch a funny movie, go for a walk, or paint.

8. Prepare what you can and how you can within your means. Practice social distancing. Call companies to see if they can lower or defer payments. Seek out resources in your community that are available. After you have done all you can do that’s within your control…let everything else go.

9. Trust that sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Trust that it will get better; it does. Promise.

10. Find a prayer or mantra that you can find comfort in. One mantra that’s helped me is Keep Fucking Going and I hold a soft spot in heart for the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

Meditate

April rain.
Drip Drop.
Pink popcorn blossoms pop.

Window pane.
Heart sang.
Busy days fade away.

Can’t escape.
Inside.
Memories in my mind.

List create.
Stress bake.
Can’t make the same mistake.

Run away.
Stop how?
Use this time to feel now.

Heal the pain.
Sit, stay.
Turn within; face the day.

Perfectionist

I always have to be the best.
For you I’m never good enough.
My tired eyes can never rest.

I aim to please I must confess.
Your love to earn I need so much.
I always have to be the best.

You say to me, “Your such a mess.”
Your threats to leave I always trust.
My tired eyes can never rest.

You criticize, make fun, and jest.
I try to make it stop; it’s tough.
I always have to be the best.

This dance repeats to my disgust –
throughout my life; it really sucks.
My tired eyes can never rest.

I hope someday I can desist;
bury these thoughts into the dust:
I always have to be the best.
My tired eyes can never rest.

On Social Transition and Being Misgendered

I’m a guy.

When I go to the grocery I get, “how can I help you ma’am?” When I go to use the men’s bathroom I get kicked out. When I tell people my name over the phone, they confuse my name for a woman’s name. When I introduce myself, I get met with confusion and/or invasive questions at the least.

Everyday I am reminded that no one can see who I am, that I’m different, that I don’t fit, and that I don’t belong. Even though I know who I am, getting the above feedback 100 percent of the time, would make anyone doubt themselves. Maybe they’re right, maybe there’s something wrong with me, maybe I’m not who I really am.

It is important to me for those close to me to respect my name and pronouns because I feel understood, acknowledged, and seen.

And of course, I understand the occasional slip up from friends and family who have known me a long time before I came out. I have a friend I refer too by their last name, if they asked me to switch to call them by their 1st name, I would need a bit of an adjustment period.

For the most part, when I interact with people who know I am trans, I can tell the difference between those in my life who use my name and pronouns out of politeness vs those who use them because they really see me for who I am. I really cherish and trust those people who are in the later category.

You can imagine my surprise when a friend, who has only known me after I came out and consistently has used the right pronouns with me, slipped up. This person was at 100% accuracy before this.

I felt embarrassed. Disappointed. Dumb even, for trusting that this person ever saw me for who I am. How could they, if they messed up? Even if they don’t slip up from now on, can I trust that this person, will ever see me? Were they just being polite this whole time? Do they even believe me?

I wanted to correct this person. Tell them, hey it’s He/Him. Explain that it sucks when those words are used. I couldn’t.

Why?

I feel guilty. I feel like I’m inconveniencing someone. I feel scared that they will tell me that I’m wrong, that it’s not important, that I’m not important, that I don’t matter. That’s what this is all about, when I get down to the thick of it. When I get misgendered, I feel like I don’t matter. Worthless. Invisibile. Inadequate. Might as well cue a great big helping dose of shame into the mix of that.

I know these are areas I need to work on, within myself. I need to put in the work to build a better sense of self-confidence, self-worth. I hope that with time, I will be able to assert and communicate what I need from others, period. That goes for all aspects of my life, not just this.

Doubt

The sky, the sky, I claim against
my lips that lift up high.
Extra space hollows beneath
my ever doubting sigh.

I lift, I lift, my eyes
towards ever rolling rocks;
they heave and push and pull against
the betterment of thoughts.

They say, they say, furrowed words
can split upon your back.
Between the eaves of attic beams
they settle and attack.

A breath, a breath, a deep inhale;
it makes a great escape
onward, outward, to besiege
an empty wooden state.

I think, I think, I’ve made mistakes
to gleams of better men;
their snares come wither and consider
a troubled game within.

I feel, I feel, the sorrow deep
within a sinking mind;
windows splice against advice
and seek to rule again.

A Mirror Reflects

Your fingers brush against my brow,
and lift the fog that steams around.
Your eyes familiar like a friend
can’t begin to comprehend.
The image that I bring to you
illuminates another truth.

“Who is that staring back at me?”
You utter with uncertainty.
I wince and try to change my face
to show you that I can’t replace
the boy you know is deep inside,
that hides behind a false disguise.

You squint to read between the lines
to peel the lie that you despise
away from your exterior,
which makes you feel inferior.
The girl that I reflect to you
refuses to believe you too.

Sorrow fills my ever beating
heart that sees your silent pleading.
Presently my soul grew stronger;
hesitating then no longer
telling you, “This life is tough,
but always trust that you’re enough.”

And That’s Okay

My inner critic is out of control; he’s a complete asshole. If I tried to be friends with him I would go running for the hills. I never give myself a break, I always put myself down, and I doubt everything I ever decide.

It makes sense. I view myself through the lens of people who were abusive. I continue to say, think, and believe their words and behavior. It’s hard to change years of, for the lack of a better term, brain washing.

I read a book that suggested to add “and that’s okay” to the end of every thought:

“I feel drained and tired at work today, and that’s okay.”

“I don’t want to drive in this weather, and that’s okay.

“I haven’t finished the end of this amazing book yet and that’s okay.

This practice should be done within reason of course; putting “and that’s okay” at the end of “I’m going to punch my boss in the face,” isn’t the best idea.

It’s not a magic solution, but it’s a start. It’s small step that allows space for validation. For myself, someone who continuously doubts and criticizes their own thoughts and feelings, this is helpful.

It gives me hope that someday I will grow into the adult that I needed when I was young.