Thursday, March 10, 2016

Find Some Other Way To Feel

So... a few nights ago I cried myself to sleep.  It wasn't just crying, either; it was outright sobbing with a bit of thrashing for good measure.  For a minute there, it was a right proper temper tantrum... albeit a quiet one, so as not to wake my wife sleeping downstairs.  I've been feeling very transgender lately, and I have no outlet.  I keep thinking about what I don't have, what I've never had, what I'll never have.  I might be able to handle it if it weren't for all the other stresses we have right now, but when everything goes bad at once I just can't hold on.

As a coping mechanism, I'm reminded of a scene from Daria.  In the episode "The Misery Chick" (S01E13), a student dies, and the other students find their own ways of dealing with the loss.  At the end of the episode, Sandi (one of the Fashion Club) walks up to Daria and asks her how to stop feeling so sad.  Daria charges her ten dollars up front, then we have this exchange:
Sandi: So like, what's your advice?
Daria: Find some other way to feel. Then you won't feel sad. Good luck.
Sandi: That's what I get for ten dollars? Are you kidding?
Daria: See, it's working already.
Sandi: [pause] Thanks.
It sounds like Daria swindled her, but it was actually genuine advice.  For the few seconds Sandi was mad at Daria, she wasn't thinking about the dead student, or any other problems.  All she could think about was how Daria took her for ten dollars. 

I have to keep my mind busy.  Right now I've got a vacation coming up, and I'm going to keep my mind focused on it as much as possible.  When I get back, I'm going to focus on fixing the house.  If I'm busy with that, I don't have time to sob about the things I can't fix.

I hate to say "count your blessings" because it sounds trite and has Christian overtones.  But it's still a good idea to dwell on what you have, not what you don't.  So here's a list of positive things in my life.

1. I'm married to an incredible woman.  She's smart, strong, and she impresses me on a daily basis.  I'm still amazed that she stayed with me when I came out as transgender.  It upset her, and there were some rocky moments, but she took the time to understand me and actually gave me support.  It's hard to find people like that.  She stayed with me for all those years we were living paycheck-to-paycheck, constantly worrying about paying the bills.  She could easily have gone off with some rich guy, but she picked me.

2. I'm nowhere near being homeless or hungry.  Recently we were discussing "what is wealthy" on a message board I frequent, and the consensus was that it's a relative thing.  Most wealthy people don't consider themselves wealthy, but they're often jealous of the "wealthy" people across the street (who only make slightly more money than they do).  I doubt many people would consider me wealthy, but there are a ton of people who would envy what I have.

3. I have enough toys to keep me entertained for years.  Too often we're mad because we can't afford the newest video game or that we can’t buy every DVD we see.  But my house is crammed with movies that I love to watch over and over.  My Steam account has hundreds of games I still enjoy playing.  And my hobbies are relatively cheap - you can play D&D with just paper, pencils and dice.  If I were never to buy another new toy again, I’d still have plenty to keep me busy.

4. My cats are awesome.  Well, all pets are awesome, but mine are better than yours, nyah nyah nyah.

5. I have very supportive friends and family.  I'm not as close to them as I should be - blame my introverted nature - but they're always willing to help when I need it.

6. I have a decent job.  Yeah, I should be a lot farther in life, but I enjoy my job and it has some decent perks.   If it wasn’t such a good job, I wouldn’t be able to take this upcoming vacation.

7. They're making Star Wars movies again.  And so far they're actually good.  Star Wars may have saved my life once, years ago, when I was extremely depressed.  No matter how bad things got, I always knew I couldn't die before the prequels were completed.  It didn’t matter how good or bad the movies were, I just had to see the whole story on film.  And now?  With Disney owning the rights, there might be new Star Wars movies until the end of time.  I’m going to have to look into immortality; I don’t want a little thing like death to keep me from seeing all of them.

8. Transgender rights are gaining acceptance.  Yes, there's still a lot of bigots out there, but things are a lot better than they used to be.

9. The Cheesy Gordita Crunch.  Greatest invention since the telephone.  Scratch that, I hate phones.  Greatest invention since the automobile.  Wait, I also hate cars.  Greatest invention since the Super Nintendo.  There we go.

As long as I concentrate on the above list, I have no excuse to be mopey.  I’ve got problems plenty, but blessings more.

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." - Philippians 4:8 you never thought I'd end a blog with a bible verse.  Don't worry, I'm still an atheist; it just seemed an appropriate quote.  Happy thoughts!

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