Being forced to LIVE!

Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.
– Soren Kierkegaard

I’ve been very joyful the last few days, but this week began with an absolute mental breakdown.

Pretty much every Sunday my stress about the upcoming week coupled with all the impending homework assignments boils over into a hot mess of panic attacks and emotional shutdown. This happens like clockwork, and every Sunday evening I end up spending more time than I can afford working through my emotions enough to mitigate the anxiety enough to get at least one of my assignments done before the wee hours of the morning enough to pass my classes. Not good.

This Sunday was no different except that I was very conscious of what was causing the anxiety. Some time after dinner a thousand voices attacked me and my identity from every angle possible in a cloud of damnable darkness. Every ill-bearing voice of dissent in my life screamed at me at once, telling me I have to figure it all out, I need to get this right, I must be crazy, I can’t be loveable, I need to pretend to be a certain person to be loved, it’s up to me to figure out the transgender mystery, I’m probably walking a tightrope over eternal fire, and what’s the point?

I was getting more and more overwhelmed by the second, and my thoughts became increasingly morbid. I don’t know how I would have gone about killed myself, but I was more than certain in my desire for a God-sent quick death, like a careless automobile or a lightening bolt.

I felt incredibly alone. I begged God: “please, just at least send me someone to talk to!” By some strange twist of fate, everyone I’d tried to hang out with since the day before Valentines Day had gone AWOL. I was in the center of a communications blackout – email, texting, facebook, everything. It was like I didn’t exist. “Please, God, I just want there to be someone out there!”

And then, only a few minutes after this choked up prayer, a buzz from my phone heralded a God-sent text. The divine message was from a very dear friend of mine, who told me: “So, I’ve been praying for you lately, and whenever I pray for you I get super under spiritual attack and start to suffer from depression and anxiety myself. And I feel right now that I’m under attack because I’m supposed to pray for you.”

I promptly called her, and we talked for a long time about all sorts of stuff. She says she’s been experiencing intense morbidity and anxiety out of nowhere, and whenever she experiences this she gets a spiritual sense that she’s bearing it for my sake. Wow.

Anyway, we talked a lot about stuff like gender theory and passed several hours discussing, sometimes arguing, the philosophy of sex differentiation. It was a good discussion, but I felt drained by it because there was never a straight answer. I kept realizing something: these pressing questions like what is gender or what makes a man/woman are mysteries that I can take a gander at, but I’ll never figure them out completely. I can have the most beautiful theology in the world about why I am the way I am, but it doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change who I wake up as every day and the challenges before me.

What the conversation kept hitting home for me is how at the end of the day I’m faced with the towering giant of LIFE which always beckons me to LIVE. I can talk myself silly about how things ought to be or whether or not I’m a girl, but at the end of the day I’m still transgender, I still have a deep psychological and medical reality to face, and I still need to live a life that is coherent, beautiful, active, and engaged in love.

The glory of God is man fully alive.
– St. Irenaeus

While I love connecting my life with my faith, I’m never going to truly figure things out. I won’t know anything until the day I die and begin my Heavenly reality. Until then I can put forth my small offerings of what I think my experience teaches the world about what it means to be human, but they’re never more than shots in the dark. And I think they’re beautiful shots in the dark, but they aren’t my life. Life consists of loving people and living joyfully. At the end of the day there’s nothing to do but make steps to be fully alive.

After the phone call with my friend, I was still utterly useless, practically comatose. My roommate eavesdropped on the tail-end of the conversation and kindly turned to me and asked me about what was going on. I told him there are so many voices tearing me down, and there is a part of me that wants to believe them because I want to be loveable and apparently being trans is an unloveable condition. With his usual talent for cutting through bullshit, he commanded me to stop listening to the voices if they are wrecking my soul. If doubting my identity and trying to desconstruct everything makes me borderline suicidal when I’m otherwise happy, it’s obviously not of God.

So I stopped. And I remembered that life needs to be lived. As myself.

As a result, this week has been great! I’ve had barely a care in the world because I don’t have to figure it all out. I don’t have to perform to be okay. I’m just me, and I really don’t have to be someone else. In fact, I can’t be someone else (believe me, I’ve spent most of my life trying). It’s okay to just live sometimes. It’s okay to be.

We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have – for their usefulness.
– Thomas Merton

8 thoughts on “Being forced to LIVE!

  1. Hi,
    I am so sorry that I am not there for you in those moments. Yes, because I have been given nothing on you, and because Jesus still allows me to ask Him the question over and over again, if I am really a girl in a guy’s body, that other than telling you of what I am going through, I am actually no help to you.
    DEATH, I have requested this by God, many many times, but like you He forces me to live and to be. Not dying, also being protected by God, from being successful at committing suicide over the years, from the many many many attacks by essentially demons, does have wonders. But the attacks, as I am a high profile target for evil ones, have been constant and never ending. Yet, why complain? Was not God, in Job, conversing with Satan, over Satan’s slanderous comments about Job? Did not Catherine of Sienna (I think this one), say one day that she was stunned by the fact that Satan is allowed in heaven, as she actually saw him there? Did Satan not take on Jesus, and lose, when Jesus just started His Public Ministry?
    Do we not know evil and do we not know good, and are we not asked to choose? Yes we are.
    Also in my condition and yours also, I am loved by God. Had He not done what He did to me, in November of 2007, I could not have handled my being transgendered later when I actually came out. I could not have. Some times, even now, I struggle with this. How is this possible? This is illogical? I can choose, can’t I? God will change this in me, won’t He? Most Biblical texts say what a horror I am to God, am I not an abomination to God by their understandings? Yet, if they are all correct, like the sun rises and sets, therefore the earth is stationary, if they are all correct in what they say is correct, SCIENTIFICALLY, then I am an abomination and there is no salvation to or for me, with God. I accept that, if they are right. Can they tell me why a crook was told he would see Jesus in Paradise today, accurately, how that could be true? Or, are even they stumbling, the blind leading the blind in what God is Really All About?
    How is it the when the question of What (God Did) is answered by Science in so many cases, AND, Why God did what He did is answered by Religion in so many cases, do the people in Religion think they are told What God did, rather than Why God does this or that thing.
    Most of all the problems of religion, are caused by a lack of proof for what is provably right, and what is provably wrong, with the rest allowed to be left as unknown. There are proofs, but all the answers provided are in the realm of Why? Why did God do this? Or why did God do that? This area is not to answer any whats, like what is an electron? That is the realm of science, but when science uses proofs, and adds proven Religion, then correctly it can now be called Science (upper case), which is merely what is proven in religion to be true, is added to what is proven in science to be true. ONLY THIS DEFINITION IS MISSING FROM THE WORLD. IT DOES NOT EXIST YET, AND IT DOES NOT HAVE TO NOT EXIST.
    Actually philosophy and what it is really, the study of all thought, with the separation by proofs, of what is provably true, from what is provably false, with the rest allowed to be left as unknown, also does not exist, but it should also.
    Integrating all these together, proven and provable religion, science and philosophy, would merely be denoted by me as now: Religion, Science and Philosophy, BUT THIS ALSO DOES NOT EXIST IN THIS WORLD, and it might never exist, BUT THERE IS NO REASON FOR THAT TO BE TRUE, except for liars and dismantlers, whose only purpose is to oppose knowledge, truth, and GOD.
    I wonder in your case and my case, if our pain and isolation which has led you and I wish this life was over for us many many times, is to let God in His own time let others know they are wrong, or is it for something greater?
    You can and should believe that what happened to me, being totally Catholic once, is handled by God beautifully, in my case, BEFORE THE ISSUE BECAME IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO HANDLE. What He did at the time, allowed me to question what it meant. By extrapolation, is not the same type of thing true for you? Are you not really a beautiful girl, to God? Does the rest of the world need to know what you know, in order for God to love, respect and care for you? Was Mary treated that way?
    Hang in there. You are most probably going to be told by God Soon, that you are okay with Him, and you must do some form of transition, because not doing that is dishonest.

    But much too tired to review this, or to actually know what I have said for sure….right now.

  2. Hi,
    Honestly today, after reading this, I feel that I say too much. Here at least I don’t sound too idiotic, like the other post. I am still thinking about never writing again.

  3. Pingback: How do we respond to Leelah Alcorn’s death? – Reflections from a survivor | The Catholic Transgender

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