There are other ways of dying
terrible, monstrous, maddening ways of dying
other than death.
So I’m working with my therapist on my feelings of loneliness and it’s kind of fun.
Let me explain: when I say loneliness, what I really mean is I’m not human and the next of my kind is likely millions of lightyears away in a galaxy we probably know about, but on a planet orbiting a star we can’t dream of ever seeing. This is not hyperbole. (well maybe a little)
The problem, oddly, isn’t the loneliness itself, but rather the way I respond to it: terror induced depression. So, according to my therapist, the best way to change my negative response into something positive, is to address the loneliness by actually saying out loud “I am lonely,” but to then follow that statement with something positive. For example “I am lonely, but I am happy with myself.” (I also tap several times on a number of pressure points on my upper body in order to disrupt something about energy and something and something else, but I will read about that later today)
I’m not satisfied with the phrase we came up with in our session yesterday, so I’d like to take this time to write my way into a better one.
Here we go:
I’m alone, but at least I get to swear whenever I want.
I’m alone, but I can make my own appointments. (and of course forget them)
I’m alone but …. SQUIRREL!
I’m alone, but I get to say when there will be no more talking.
I’m alone, and that means I’m not married. (several minutes of relieved laughter)
I’m alone and that means I could seal up the shower and fill it with water and take a vertical bath.
I’m alone which means I’m the only one telling me what to do. (not sure how positive this is)
I’m alone, but … I’m free to be alone.
I’m alone, but being alone makes me free.
Free to stop moving, to close my eyes and breath and feel my feet on the solid floor. Free to build my small altar by the roll top desk and decorate it with a twisted chicken wire tree, a tiny aquarium with running water and lights that change from blue to lavender
to yellow and green and red.
I’m alone, but being alone I am free to worship in peace. Free to define how and what I worship: gods of ice water, gods of fitful sleep, gods of air conditioning and heat, ceiling fans, dimmable lights and textured walls. Gods of blankets that are like cloaks for crying. Smiling gods. Grinning giggling gods. Modern gods of texting shortcuts. Gods of language and broken rules.
I’m alone, but I’m free to exist in my own space without criticism, without advice or instruction. I’m free to not smile. I’m free to feel the new shape of my own body. I’m free to be naked and love what is there, which is everything, almost.
I am free. Free to be as I am and nothing else. Free to be conscious and name myself Ellee, whose angry face induces laughter and joy, whose arms are smooth now, the long hands and fingers beginning to experiment with dance and meditation.
I am alone. I am alone but not terrified. I am alone and I don’t know how much longer I will be alone. Lucky loneliness. Happy compassionate loneliness. May it stay with me. Allow me my solitude. Allow me time enough to find and name and feed the ten-thousand gods in me.
I’m alone, but being alone makes me free.
There’s something about a stick of celery that calms the mind.
I never cared for celery on it’s own. I’d fill its trough with peanut butter, and that was okay. But just a plain naked stick of the vegetable tasted bland and made too much noise to be worth the trouble.
Not so anymore. It’s taste is wet and clean, and is loud cracking sound drowns out the noises in the brain. It’s the perfect comfort food for the troubled soul.
So this morning at 3 o’clock, after losing time to the singularity of senseless dreams, I got up and wandered into the kitchen for a few sticks of celery. I brought them back to the bed and chewed on them and tried to sleep but my head hurt so I took Excedrin and listened to myself chew and the ceiling fan click until five o’clock came and I got out of bed and turned on the lights and started some music on YouTube in the living room.
Which is where I am now. More celery, a couple boiled eggs, medications ready for later, laptop open on my lap.
I don’t know who I’m writing to anymore. My blog has just under 70 followers. Some of them are people I know, but the vast majority are strangers. I wonder about them – about you. I wonder what each of you look like and if sleep comes easier for you and what shape your lives have fallen into. I wonder why you read a post and decided this would be a good blog to follow.
I’m a terrible judge of people, and the anonymity of the internet doesn’t help. A woman friended me on Facebook a while back because she’d seen me several times at a local coffee shop but never talked to me. Then, last week I think, we actually met in person, accidentally, in the same coffee shop, and talked and talked and talked until the place closed, and half an hour after further as the baristas were cleaning up.
She wasn’t anything I had expected. Her story, or what I heard of it, is her own so I won’t share it here, but meeting her and talking face to face, I felt human again. I spend so much time alone. Writing, sleeping, going from therapist to the bank to psychiatrist and supermarket. I rarely sit down with a single person and talk with them as if the two of us are the only people on Earth. Most of the time I feel like the only person on the planet who isn’t really from this planet. So it was good to have a person sit down and want to talk. Who talked to me as if I weren’t alien. She actually laughed at some of the things I said. She revealed her pains – some of them – and I tried to hold back and not empty my entire store of boredoms and death-wishes.
Blogs can’t provide that kind of intimate contact. They are good at finding contacts, but the real communication happens elsewhere. And that’s what we need I think, as a human species. As unique separate individuals who bump by each other on the street like cows in a herd.
So I’m going to go out on a limb here and invite you to contact me on facebook. I want to hear your story, not in a well worded blog post, but in the closets we can get to a real conversation online: with Facebook messenger. And if you don’t have Facebook, let me know what you do have and I’ll create an account or do whatever needs to be done and we can connect your way.
My name is Ellee Adams. I live in St. George. I went to Kearns High School, graduated with a BA in English from Lewis State College in Lewiston Idaho and got my Masters at Pacific University in Forest Grove Oregon. Look me up if you feel so inclined. Tell me your story, or as much as you want. And you can ask me about mine.
I’m tired of being the empath.
So much hurt.
So many days without sleep
without a warm bowl of rice
a soft body
a kind word. I’m tired.
It’s your turn now.
Take my black cloak
my blankets and pillows.
They will help a little when the pain
makes you sick
when the body is too heavy to move.
It’s time I visit the bleak red desert
the lizards and rattlesnakes
rabbits and and bats and prickly things.
I’ll bring my bengal tiger along.
My quiet companion.
I’ll walk with him
into the ancient red rocks of Southern Utah.
We’ll lie down together in a cool alcove
and fall asleep, my face buried
into the copper froth of his neck
his paw like a heavy pillow over my ear.
It’s your turn
to feed the battered cats
to be the weeping rocking choking child.
Take it from me. Just for a while.
I am leaving with my tiger into the narrow
hallways of Zions Canyon to sleep
the good sleep no one wants to come back from.
The following list is the definition of “identity” as outlined on dictionary.com. Following each definition is a brief attempt at explaining why that definition of “identity” fails to describe a transgender person’s sense of gender.
The state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions:
The identity of the fingerprints on the gun with those on file provided evidence that he was the killer.
This definition is referring to unchanging physical aspects of something, and thus clearly has no relevance to “gender identity” because gender identity has nothing to do with anything physical. In fact a trans woman’s body begins completely wrong and slowly changes to something more comfortably female.
The condition of being oneself or itself, and not another:
He began to doubt his own identity.
This is referring to the identities we all have that distinguish us from each other. While gender, our sense of maleness or femaleness may be included in our identity (our “condition of being oneself”), that is not actually what the definition means. This definition is referring to qualities that make one a unique person different from others. This is an identity of self, which includes our unique expression of our gender, but does not refer to the state of being a particular gender itself.
Condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is; the qualities, beliefs, etc., that distinguish or identify a person or thing:
A case of mistaken identity; a male gender identity; immigrants with strong ethnic identities.
This is a pretty close definition of what “gender identity” actually means. Unfortunately it begs the question: what really is the condition or character of maleness or femaleness? Normally we would revert to the body to describe those conditions, but clearly this isn’t the case for someone who is transgender. So aside from the body, what really are male and female characteristics? Not sexual orientation, that much is obvious. Otherwise there would be no lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, pansexual (etc.) people. The answer to the question, as far as I can tell, is always based an male and female cultural stereotypes. Women are generally considered nurturing, but that doesn’t mean men can’t be nurturing, or that the amount of nurturing females is even significantly higher than males. Any “quality” of maleness of femaleness is based on invented expectations. In fact, what we generally refer to as male or female qualities is really nothing more than a particular personality trait and does not define gender.
The state or fact of being the same one as described.
This one clearly is simply referring to identifying someone, say, in a line-up at the police station.
The sense of self, providing sameness and continuity in personality over time and sometimes disturbed in mental illnesses, as schizophrenia.
Similar to number 3, this definition seems to come pretty close. If it just weren’t for the word “personality.” Gender is not personality. Gender is expressed through personality, as is anger and love and all other aspects of our identified selves, personality and gender are not the same. On the other hand, when I say I am a transgender woman I am referring to my “sense of self,” even though that gendered self changes over time, it remains continuously female. But again this begs the question “what is a ‘sense of self'”? Which brings us right back to the same problem we find in number 3.
Exact likeness in nature or qualities:
an identity of interests.
There is no exact likeness in gender. Period. Not in body. Not in mind.
There are further sub-definitions, but I’m too tired to continue, and none of them are any better at defining what society has come to call “gender identity.” Ultimately (and of course personally) I don’t like the term “identity” used to describe gender. Personally I don’t identify as a woman. I am a woman. I have no fixed reference to fall back on as proof of my womanhood. But that is only because my body is different from the standard female body. I do have breasts (titlets, as a friend would call them) and I do have female hormones (more estrogen and less testosterone). But then there’s the hair on my face which is sharp and dark, unlike female facial hair that is more soft and light (although, again, there are many exceptions). And of course the genitals.
I suppose the physical differences between a woman and a transgender woman make up the reason for the term “gender identity.” Ask a woman how she knows she’s a woman and she will most likely look at you strange, as if to say “can’t you see what I look like?” A transgender woman doesn’t have such a luxury. For me at least, when I say I’m a woman I am simply stating that the person who does the thinking and feeling and doing is a woman. My consciousness I suppose is female. Don’t ask me how I know that. And don’t ask me to explain. I have no answers to those questions. All I can say is it is not merely part of my identity as a human being. It is more fundamental than identity. It is me. It is the human me.