I have not been doing well lately. Actually, that’s kind of an understatement. I completely melted down a few days ago. I hated everything about myself; my appearance, my voice, my brain, my inability to just chant a magic spell and be a different gender already.  By the end, I only wanted to do two things: to die, and to be dead. It was bad.

It took a lot of effort, and a lot of fighting back massive spikes of anxiety, but I took advantage of the fact that I have friends who are also mentally ill and transgender and willing to listen to me vent for a little while. And I did; I poured my heart out and openly wept in front of one of my best friends, something I have not done in a long, long time. And you know what? It felt good! Obviously, it’s not the answer to all of my problems, and I don’t want to come across as clingy or manipulative or something by constantly having to pull people aside and make them listen to my bullshit. But for the time being, it helped. And I can never forget what she did for me, just by listening.

But I’ve had a lot of time to think about things. Like, how I got to this point in the first place. Severe trust issues in my past have kept me from opening up the way that I did in that moment of desperation. So instead of being able to open up to someone who cares about me, I internalize everything. I keep all of my problems and issues bottled up, until something sets me off, and I lash out in anger. It’s done no favors in regards to my reputation of always being mad and unapproachable online. And it definitely doesn’t help when the old gaslighty TERF standby of “you don’t know what it’s like to be a REAL woman!” comes out and I have to shrink and recoil, because here I am, giving in to this toxic masculinity of being tough on the outside, even though it feels like I’m rotting on the inside. It sucks, and I’m tired of it, and I’m trying my best to fix it as best I can, given my current circumstances.

A while back, like maybe a couple months ago, I had a quick conversation with a friend. We hadn’t talked in a few weeks before that. The reason being was that she thought that I was upset with her. You ever find yourself in a situation where you’re friends with someone, and they have another friend, and the two of you cannot stand one another? Well, that’s where I was. Me and a friend of a friend do not, and to be honest, probably never will, get along. I try my best to ignore it; I care about this other person a lot, and I never want to be that asshole who lays down the “me or them” ultimatum. But, maybe I was in one of my many trademark moods where I was yelling and lashing out on a public forum again, and gave off that impression. Upon hearing “we haven’t talked in a while because I thought you were mad at me about Friend X,” I was chilled to the bone. To think that I nearly drove away someone I love over something so stupid.

Then shortly after that, I had a blow-up with someone who is pretty well liked in various queer/leftist circles. I won’t go too far into it, because it already happened, and I don’t want to bring up triggering events for people who were also involved in that (and also because I said I was going to stop talking about it, but this particular instance is important to the blog post). It was a resurrection of some shit that friends and I have been dealing with for the past few years. I was angry and tired of it all. I went right up to the guy who thought it would be cool to reignite an old “stable war” and let him have it. A lot of people I would have called friends stopped talking to me shortly after that. And the internet reputation machine; the “stop supporting Ramona because she is X, Y, and Z” locomotive only got stronger.

These two events were this tipping point for me. And I had to ask myself what was more important: the people who I care about, or the people who have wronged me? Do I care more about showing support to someone who has been hurt, or the temporary feeling of satisfaction I get from yelling at the person who hurt them? Is spending all my energy on loving my friends more or less important than spending all my energy on hating my enemies? And, despite any and all common sense, I unknowingly picked the second option every time, and it cost me, and will continue to do so if I don’t learn how to knock it off.

I’ve had a pretty shitty life, so when I develop a connection with someone, I get fiercely loyal. I will defend them at the drop of a hat, no matter what consequences I face as a result. And I don’t regret it for a single second, either. I don’t care if entire communities despise me, or if there are mainstream articles trashing me, or if I got doxxed, or whatever else. There are more important things in this life. But, and please bear with me here, because I am going to make a video game comparison: I’ve been so busy being a Tank, shielding others from harm, that I didn’t stop to think that maybe I should be a healer, checking up on them and their well-being. And I’ve been tanking for so long that it’s finally gotten to me. Your own personal shield can’t last forever. And eventually there comes a point where I have to retreat and seek help from the rest of my team.

I’ve done so many posts about all the different ways I want to change, but this is the most important one. I love the people around me, but in my quest for some twisted sense of justice and validation, I’ve done a terrible job of showing it. I said the other night, through choking sobs, that I had never felt so alone. I never want to feel that way again. I never want to drive people away because I only want to fight, and not be the friend that I should be.

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