Author Topic: Hope and survival over coming dysphoria  (Read 187 times)

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Offline MelissaAnn

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Hope and survival over coming dysphoria
« on: February 26, 2018, 10:16:26 pm »

I started my unmasking (transition) October 1st, 2014 and over the last three plus years I have heard consistently how brave or courageous I am or any other assortment of similar statements. Please understand, although I do appreciate the sentiments, I’m not so sure they apply to me. I really do appreciate all the support I have received with my unmasking.
I know looking in from the outside it my look like I’m brave and courageous for unmasking and living an authentic life and all, But I’m not… Was it courage that helped me to unmask? NO…! Did I go into my endocrinologist’s office a state I’m transgender and I want to unmask? NO..! Would unmasking make me happier? I didn’t know for sure. Does anyone really? Would my dysphoria go away? God only knew…! Would I be able to look into a mirror at myself and not see some sort of freak? Brave? No, scared out of my mind? Yes…! How will my family and friends react and handle my unmasking? Are you kidding me? How could they possibly? Will I ever be able to leave my apartment without fear of being attacked violently by some transphobic bigot? I had so many fears that I was frozen in place for decades. My fears controlled me for way to long but still I didn’t wake up one morning and stare down my fears and attack them. Nope not even close.
Three and a half years ago, when I started my unmasking I certainly didn’t suddenly become brave, there wasn’t newfound bravery. There was no working up “the guts” to unmask. So what was the defining moment or reason? I was sitting in the dark just thinking about everything, looking at what gender dysphoria was and had done to me all my life and how utterly miserable I was. There was a reckoning for me when the realization came to me there was never going to be a real future for myself. Oh, I did try different things in my life trying to “cure” myself like I always wanted. I wasn’t happy and my dysphoria was crushing me and starting to lead me back to the abyss of suicide again. I started thinking there has to be something better, a better version where suicide wasn’t a constant on my mind. A version where looking in the mirror and actually liking the person looking back at me in the mirror. If I didn’t figure this out there wouldn’t be a future. Is there hope? There has to be hope..! I started clinging to hope and in doing so hope changed everything.
Did finding hope make my fears go away? Absolutely not, I was scared beyond anything. There were still doubts that all of this would work out. There was an assumption on my part that this was all going to be a total disaster, but the hope that I was holding onto was finally showing me another side to all my fears. There was this alternative to giving into my hopelessness, there was an underdog, a real long shot for me to root for, a long shot at a real life, and a life worth living..! I had no choice in being transgender or the life I was living, but I did have a choice in whether or not I would do something about it. My choice was the long shot, even though I never thought it would work out, because, when I really looked at it there was no choice. There is no courage or bravery in doing something you have no choice in at all.
Let me see if I can explain this better, imagine you are in the desert and the biggest monstrous coyote (your dysphoria) you can possible phantom pounces out from behind a mound of sand. This coyote starts coming at you but you turn and run, you run as fast as you can to get away. Is running the act of a coward at this point? We’ll come back to that question. It seems like an eternity goes by as you are running, your running out of steam and don’t have much left in your energy tank, but that coyote with its growling teeth looking to have you for dinner is right behind you.
As you are running you come to a ledge and it’s a twenty foot drop and you jump think that the coyote isn’t going to follow and you run another 200 yards and come around a bend thinking you’re in the clear but…. There is the Grand Canyon and you stop at the edge looking down but not seeing the bottom because it’s getting dark out. You look down into the abyss just like looking into the abyss of suicide. As your options go through your mind on what to do the coyote has slowed to walk knowing you are trapped, its mouth open a little, drooling and snarling at you as it comes closer. At this point your options are limited, you could jump off the edge, I’m sure it will hurt a lot less than being torn limb from limb and eaten alive. At this point you think to yourself if I’m going down I’m going down with a fight. That’s where hope comes in. The odds are stacked against you but hope gives you a spark, a light in the dark, maybe I can survive this.
You turn and face this huge coyote and charge it as fast and as hard as you can. You throw a punch that connects with its snout and the coyote is stunned and taken back slightly, but its hungry a quickly sets itself and gets ready to attack. As you both lunge at each other somehow or another, momentum you built up in the short distance you had. You take the coyote to the ground. You are now on top of the coyote and hitting it with everything you have, you keep hitting till you can’t anymore. After all what else are you going to do?
If you stopped hitting it and ran, it would chase you down again. As this coyote is kicking its feet at you and scratching you up as it fights back, you simply refuse to give up and keep hitting. You’ve at long last worn it down, and you spot a rock just to the side of the coyote’s head and pick it up. You start bashing the coyote in the head until its unconscious. Somehow you’ve actually defeated this monster of a coyote with just your will to survive, you’ve found the hope that said at least try or die.
Your will to survive overcame your fears and as you look down at this monstrous coyote, weakly breathing, you start thinking this is not good enough. I won the battle but the war needs to end and you drag the body of the coyote the edge of the canyon and push it over the edge. You stare over the edge as the coyote (your dysphoria) falls into the abyss and out of sight.
You sit down to gather your strength back and take a moment to think and you realize what just happened. A smile comes across your face, you get up and find yourself walking taller, more confident and walk out of the desert, still alive and with a whole outlook on life. This monstrous coyote that was holding you back in fear has been defeated, it was faster, bigger and stronger than you and you shouldn’t have survived, but alas you did. 
Getting back to my earlier question. Was running an act of cowardness? No, it was survival instinct. So no, I’m not brave, courageous, or any other accolades you might want to call me, this is and always has been about survival. There was never a choice because I had no choice. The façade I wore all my life has come off and I’m done pretending I’m something I’m not and I refuse to. I’m no one special, I’m just a woman who found hope and in doing so found survival.
 The choices made here where to survive and to star in my own life...!