Tag Archives: mental health

Reconciling The Past

I have a problematic relationship with my past. This is not just in the sense that I have a good memory, and those memories often find themselves in my focus at the most inopportune times. Nor is it necessarily in the sense that I’ve done horrible things I’m not willing to admit. My problems with the past stem from the fact that the past exists, and there’s nothing I can do about it. It evokes the need to flee or to reconcile, and that is immensely problematic for me.

A few weekends ago I went to Hamilton for the bridal shower of a friend I’ve had since high school, and it made me think a lot about the past. I wouldn’t say I’m a stranger to Hamilton, I go back at least once a month, but I tend to stick to places that were never really associated with my childhood, and I tend to hang out with friends who grew with me as people. Having to go to this event and potentially see people I haven’t seen for more than 3 years meant that I would need to reconcile these two points in time and explain the gap, which means having to explain my transition.

I’ve often thought I would love to erase the past. Take the good, bad, and mediocre elements of my upbringing and just throw it all into a shredder. It’s extra weight I can’t seem to shake free, and as a trans woman this is simply a huge extra burden I have to deal with. No matter how hard you run, how well you can disappear, your past will be always be just another weapon that transphobes will try to use against you at every opportunity. Hate groups like TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) and MRAs (“Men’s Rights Activists”) revel in attempting to dehumanize you by trying to throw your past in your face. This is something that weighs heavily on me and many other trans women I know. There were times when I lied, denied, or covered up to prevent my identity and activities from being known. Times when I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t who I am, that I was normal, whatever the fuck that even entails.

I was raised Catholic. I attended Catholic school throughout my entire education. Though I made some lifelong friends, Catholic school made me hate myself. If you are lgbt, Catholicism will try its hardest to change you. After a few years of listening to anti-gay rhetoric, attending mass, guest speakers, and mandatory theology courses, you’ll try to hide your identity from your peers and from yourself. This is exactly what I did for nearly a decade. I started dressing en femme in grade 7 and by grade 10 I had quit that not because I felt comfortable in my assigned gender but because I feared all the things I was told would happen to me.

There’s a lot of nostalgia for childhood in western culture. If you were to watch coming of age movies, you’d think that high-school was the most important time of your life. To me, high-school is a mixed bag. I’m so happy I met my friends, they’re fucking wonderful in every damn way, but it’s an institution that made me hate myself in a very vulnerable and suggestible time of my life. Because of this, I’m completely torn. Part of me would like to burn the whole damn thing to the ground, but without it I wouldn’t be the same person I am today. Despite the hardship, or maybe because of it, I turned out to be someone I’m immensely proud of.

As much as I want to forget those 4 years ever existed, I also want to send a selfie to every jerk-ass little shit I ran into in the hallways. I’d love to see the look on my uptight teachers’ faces. I’d love to find out that there were other people like me who were just living under the radar and I’d love to hear their stories. There were at least a couple thousand students enrolled at my high-school, so it’s statistically likely that at least 50-100 of them were gay and maybe 5 or 6 were trans. Coming to terms with my past instead of running away means I could swap stories and learn about the experiences of my peers. Finding others who share your struggle is often cathartic.

My past is painful, but it’s my past. While hate groups will always attempt to weaponize it against me, it could also be something that builds community, provides perspective, and helps me connect with others I may have not connected with before. I still dread events like the bridal shower, but I’ve accepted that some good could come of it. There are still things I can gain from connecting with my past provided I don’t let the bastards get me down.

From the Editors: Happy New Year

Well that was a hell of a month. Honestly, this is the first time the holidays have ever worn me out in this way, I was totally unprepared. I had planned on writing something for Inatri about my own struggles with unemployment and my impending financial doom, but the season took it’s toll and I didn’t have the strength to deal with writing about something so personal. Because of this, Inatri released no articles in December; we went completely dark.

That’s not like us, honestly. We have been pretty good about releasing even a small thing. Ah well, c’est la vie. Because of my own guilt regarding the silence, and my own inability to produce anything remotely legible without breaking down, I want to discuss both some of what happened and some of the plans we have for the new year.

Holiday Blues

As I alluded to before, December was a tough time for the Inatri staff. I succumbed to my own debilitating depression but didn’t really tell anyone. Instead, I decided to work harder at a hobby job that I picked up in November. This meant I was sleeping, at most, 5 hours a day, while eating barely anything and totally being unresponsive on Twitter and Skype. I find it hard to notice these destructive personality traits until it’s taken its toll and I find myself constantly hungry and having mid day naps. Coupled with the holidays themselves, my mental health was pretty garbage.

Since being laid off I’ve made barely any money. In all honesty, I don’t even pay myself for writing. I naively expected we’d be making some money at this point or I would have found another job. I’ve had some interviews and some interest in my resume but being as awkwardly and visibly trans as I am makes it hard to pass the first interview stage. I don’t interview well to begin with so having that extra little pressure of presenting as femme and knowing you’re being judged on your appearance completely fucks me over. I honestly didn’t care about this until my Employment Insurance ran out in late November, ever since then it’s been cycles of depression and panic. I will probably expand upon this in an upcoming piece.

As for duckie, they’ve been having health issues, however, I don’t feel like it’s appropriate for me to discuss their problems publicly.

New Year, New Site

Even though we were having issues, that didn’t inhibit our ambitions. First off, expect a site redesign before the end of the month. Neither of us are too pleased with the current look and layout of the site. WordPress is also a total nuisance sometimes in the most annoying of ways. Hell, we can’t even get scheduled posts to work, that’s how completely borked it is.

As for articles, we’re looking for freelance writers. I have gotten 3 pitches, and I am pursuing all of them, while duckie is pursuing a couple others. The topics covered are diverse from accessibility to mental health to human sexuality. That said, if you have a pitch for an article please send it to [email protected].

In terms of what I want to write, I’d love to do a direct follow up to my article on masturbation since it was so heavily focused on CAMAB penis havers. I’m a bit shy when it comes to finding interview subjects so I pulled from a pool of people I know and posted to my twitter, which means I got respondents that are very similar to me. Even if I never do a direct follow up with CAFAB folks or CAMAB individuals with neo-vaginas, I’d love to do similar interview pieces. There’s a lot of discussion to be had about the intersection of identity and sexuality, and thus I’d love to interview some non-trans, individuals who don’t present as cis. Particularly fembois, cis-identified crossdressers, and CAMAB individuals who identify as sissy. That said, I don’t want to limit myself to just those ideas. If you know anyone who would like to be interviewed to discuss their sexuality, or their identity, drop me a line.

Finally, I plan on either continuing or rewriting my piece about being trans and unemployed as it will become increasingly relevant in the coming months. I’m hemorrhaging money from my savings and that’s incredibly scary to me, so it’ll be cathartic at least to write a piece about the rollercoaster of emotions I’m currently experiencing.

Looking forward to 2015 2016

Inatri has been on the web for a year. We have a lot to show for it in terms of content, but not as much as I hoped would be there by the end of 2015. Provided we’re still able to, we’re going to be pushing harder this year. Hopefully with some more finance, some more support, and a few good freelance writers, we can make 2016 the year 2015 was supposed to be for Inatri.