Author’s note: This is written to give voice to living in a trans-life—a life that feels like it doesn’t fit. We all feel it some days and it’s okay.
There are days like today where my irrelevancy is glaringly apparent.
There’s no way to predict exactly what will open Pandora’s Box. We all have parts locked away or covered in drapes of habitual denial. I’m no different. And it took a death to shine a light on the wounds I’ve tempered through procrastination.
With my wounds uncovered, thoughts lined up and spewed into my awareness like felony sentences being rattled off by a twelve-pack-a-day smoker:
“You are old.” “You are doomed to be single.” “You are fat and lazy.” “No one will love you, especially if you fall in love with them.” “Everyone you love leaves.” “You are just a bridge girl and not someone who someone else will stay with.” “You are poor.” “You make bad choices.”
And in the final crushing blow, “You are worthless.”
My gestures are relaxed as I pull out my tarot deck. The cards seem to reflect my mood so I’m not getting answers—just more inner dialogue. I reach for another distraction. I flip through my phone. Time seems to slip by between two-minute YouTube clips.
Am I moving? Am I frozen?
Then I hear a whimper-like tone reverberate inside of me, “Get up.” It is just enough to push a few tears out of my eyes. My fingers continue to move across the cold glass of my iPhone. It seems to be the only thing that is responsive.
I try to sleep it off. I try to push it away. I try to absorb the sunlight. The surroundings have not changed. They are still lush and beautiful. But, the chase has overwhelmed me. I’m already hunting for more money, a better body, a man to love me—but not just any man—my man.
I manage to put my phone down and take a few steps toward my front door. But then, I collapse like a body no longer animated by its soul. I wither under the pressure of impending doom. My faith feels like ignorance. How could I have been so stupid to arrive at 36 alone? Did I not notice? I should have tried harder!
I’ve been single—without a partner and a witness—for years. It hasn’t been okay. It has been justified. “My calling,” “my independence,” “my lack of divorce,” or some other fading ember have been poor substitutes for the family I wanted to have, the husband I’m supposed to be gloating over, and the home I’m supposed to inhabit.
I’m not happy that I just medicated myself with more debt and four cheesecakes. I keep falling into the pit of despair. And I know for a fact that this is a part of being human—the entanglements of desire perpetuate themselves like unspoken agreements.
I just want someone to agree with me goddamn it!
Life has rules if you want to belong, and I’d like to fall in line. But in order to do that I’d have to edit my life’s script.
First, my mother and father would still be alive. I would have married when I was 26 like I planned. I’d have two kids by now and my husband would earn enough for us to live an upper-middle class life. I’d shop at Costco and talk to friends about the repairs on the house. I’d be moderately political.
I’d finally fit in.
Later in life I would try things like silicon breasts, face fillers, micro-derm-abrasion, and anything that shed years off my face and body. My husband and I would go to therapy and talk about symptoms in our relationship but not ever get solutions because our insurance only covered six sessions. One of my kids would try drugs early and the other would try to compensate for his sibling’s failures. I’d play favorites. And I’d feel stable in this lifestyle. I’d feel secure.
But, mostly, I’d fit in.
The reality is I don’t.
So, I compensate by watching movies on my computer because cable is too expensive. I eat out more than I should because an apple and peanut butter isn’t a meal. Plus I hate to do the dishes. I pull tarot cards because I need something to talk to me.
In reality, I need sex, affection, and touch.
As I write this, I can feel the angst that comes from my words is like the waves of heat coming off asphalt in July. They distort perception and make it hard to tell just how long the road is ahead.
That’s the thing. I don’t know how much longer the road ahead is. Am I doomed to be single the rest of my life? Will the desire for partnership remain an unrest in my heart?
I want the script to read, “I love him and he loves me.” We are a “power couple” in that together we are changing the world through global acts of service. This script has a simple overtone of two people staying centered in love in a way that alchemizes greater possibility.
But, on this day, I’m irrelevant. I’m aging. My sorrow can’t be denied. The work of building pyramids rests on my shoulders.
I go it alone.
And now, my stomach aches from cheesecake.
Author: Rebekah McClaskey
Editor: Catherine Monkman