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Aug 18 2017

I’m Strong on the Surface, Not All the Way Through

Digging Deeper Just to Throw It All Away

“I bleed it out. Digging deeper, just to throw it away.” – “Bleed it Out” by Linkin Park

Sometimes I must write. Something starts piling up in my head. As Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Writing is incredibly personal for me. It is a form of self-therapy, and I have not been doing it a lot recently. What I have written has gone to private places or my big project.

Sometimes I sit in front of my computer and let all my feelings out and it ends up somewhere online. That is what is happening with this one. Words are the path to the truth of my heart. I do not draw, I write. Why publish? So that it can help others. People in the same situation can be helped by not feeling alone. People that are not in the situation can see a little bit more understanding. As my mom and I have both said: “I write for myself, I edit and publish for others.” Although, to be honest, this one did not have much editing.

I have been writing for a big project, I have been writing about other times in my life. I have neglected the feelings I have now. So here, they all come, all at once.

I Want to Let Go of the Pain I’ve Felt So Long

“I want to heal, I want to feel, What I thought was never real. I want to let go of the pain I’ve felt so long.” – “Somewhere I Belong” by Linkin Park

There was once a time when I thought transitioning would solve all my problems. I planned it like it was flipping a switch. A long time ago I promised myself I would be better. Once I was me I knew I would be whole. Better yet, I even had a date. I had a timeline. Those of you who are frequent readers will remember it… I would be happy, by November 17th, 2017. I would not have regrets or pains. For a while it appeared to be the case. A couple of months and even a year into my new, more honest life, people were describing me as strong and courageous. I was on the way. I was happy. I was starting to build a self-confidence I had never built before. I was smiling. I know ‘smiling’ does not sound particularly amazing but I look back at pictures before this time and the smiles were fake. As far as everyone around me knew, during this time, I was healing.

I sit here three years after coming out, and very close to my ‘due date,’ to say that is not the whole story. In some cases, I am rawer, weaker, more depressed, and anxious than ever before. I am showing more feelings and people have come to me and say, “are you okay?” People are actively worried about me. I have been looking back a lot lately, but when people express their worry for me because I seem more depressed than ever before… That shocks me. Some people will turn around at this point and say, “You shouldn’t have transitioned.” To those people: How. Dare. You. Say. That.

I would never go back. I have built a self confidence that I can stand behind. I have built myself up. I am at the point where I am someone I can be proud to be. I am now, finally, Somewhere I Belong. My strengths are mine, my weaknesses are mine. Regardless of the pains I have, regardless of the happiness I have. It is mine. My true, honest, authentic, feelings. Overall, I am not more depressed than I was. I am not more anxious than I was. I am honestly significantly less. I am just showing the truth instead of hiding it. I am proud of my truth instead of afraid of it. I will no longer hide. Eventually I hope to be free of most of this pain.

Why is Everything So Heavy?

“Holding on, so much more than I can carry. I keep dragging around what’s bringing me down. If I just let go, I’d be set free. Holding on, why is everything so heavy?” – “Heavy” by Linkin Park (feat. Kiiara)

As many of you know I have not been posting recent blog posts. I was also planning to take this website down sometime soon, at least partially. The reason behind that is a marketing decision. I have been working on writing an autobiography about my life. Starting from my childhood and earliest memories. It has what others have written about me and memories of others. It holds my struggles working though my bullied painful teenage years, working up though a difficult young adulthood trying to find my place. It will work though me coming to terms with being transgender and coming out to family and friends. It will end with a day I put something in the mail, hoping for an acceptance I only dreamed of.

Going through my history has been tough. It felt easy till around 4th grade. When I aligned it with the things I had previously written for this blog I noticed a disconnect. There were huge parts missing. Then as I progressed though I realized that the stuff I left out was the stuff I have not actually worked though yet. Those are the things I ignored. The depression and anxiety before was because I did not fit in and had to fake my personality and beliefs to keep my existence and at least fit in a little. Those feelings have healed. With those feelings healed, overall, I am much better.

However, in certain places, I am struggling much more than before. There are many people that have touched my life that I have loved deeply and lost. I never thanked them. I never appreciated them. They never got to see the things they did for me. I hope I have had half the impact on them, and other people around me that they had on me. These are people that have helped me grow that I can never truly thank. It hurts so much right now. I’ve road blocked myself writing about my past, just because I am too sad to continue. I will get though it though. This paragraph itself helps. I am going back to therapy and will be working though writing my book with a lot more support that I let in before. I promise.

SIDE NOTE: I believe that everyone should have a therapist always. Even if they are not actively struggling. I know I will. There is so much value in having someone outside of your life and connections to throw ideas at and get feedback from.

I carried these things without working through them. I never grieved. I never forgave. I never believed that I had enough value to merit their time and effort. Therefore, I denied their effort existed.

I am going finding all these little mistakes I made. Just writing that I made them is tough, for a long time it has felt like he made them. I had to treat myself as two different people. As part of the recent parts of my transition I have been trying to accept that I am one person, not a he and a she. It has been tough. Forgiving others for what they did to me was easy. I thought I had forgiven him, but once he was me, it was a completely different story.

I’m Picking Me Apart Again

“Memories consume, like opening the wounds. I’m picking me apart again. You all assume, I’m safe here in my room. Unless I try to start again.” – “Breaking the Habit” by Linkin Park

I stopped writing. It was over. Depression has come again. I was falling apart again. This is when people started to notice. I deflected. I said I am okay. I honestly thought I was. I was picking at all my old wounds and memories. I did not believe them that I was in so much pain.

I had nothing but questions. I even posted some questions on Facebook. It was as close as I was getting to therapy at the time. And I fell back on old habits, of taking everything on and being strong. I helped others with their problems, forgot mine, but questions haunted my existence.

How could I ever thank them?

Could I ever grieve them?

How could I ever forgive myself?

How could I ever survive happily?

Am I a good person?

Is my life worth living?

None of them had conclusive answers in my mind. A couple of them do now.

I was also stressing about getting a new job, an impending move. I was in a daze and just living day to day. I was making bad choices and neglecting responsibilities. In retrospect, it was clear what I was going though, yet again I could not see it myself. Others did, and tried to help, and I fell on old habits. I pushed them away and claimed to be okay.

I seriously should stop doing that. If someone worries about me. I should accept the worry and help of those around me who love me even If I do not think I need it.

Watch You Go

“It starts with one… All I know… It’s so unreal… Watch you go… I tried so hard, and got so far. But in the end, it doesn’t even matter.” – “In the End” by Linkin Park

I was struggling with everything I have written so far. Stopped in my tracks, I could not write anymore. Something was just bubbling under the surface. I could not ask for help. I could not give words to what was under my skin. Then it happened. “Chester Bennington of Linkin Park dies at 41” I first saw the story as I was getting ready for work. I thought to myself “Oh, that’s very sad.” Then I went on with getting ready. It had not hit me yet.

His words have meant so much to me throughout my difficult years. I first came across them with a song called Crawling. They are a band close to my heart. They are not my favorite band, but their words touched me deeper than any other band in existence.

When I turned on the radio in the car it was on a Sirius XM channel called Octane and they were talking about Chester’s passing. It was extremely sad for me. To think that he took his own life because of his own struggles was extremely tough for me. When you have fought the same fight as someone, when you are comrades, anyone lost in that battle is as painful as it gets. Yet, I did not cry. I bottled it up. They moved on and played other music. I hopped around the channels like I usually do. Until…

I landed on a Linkin Park song I had never heard before. A popular one, that I somehow missed, called “Leave Out All the Rest.” It sounded like a suicide note. Even though they wrote years ago, and recorded years ago. I heard his pained voice though the song. It kicked me in the gut. I had made so much progress. I tried so hard. Now, it did not even matter. I had to pull over I was crying so hard.

There is a feature on my radio where you can go back and play the most recent song again. Then after it plays it continues with the next song that would have played. I played back “Leave Out All the Rest” again. And Again. And Again. I sat there and listened to it. I started driving again, still crying, and listened to it more. Then one last time, I let it play though. I resolved to move on. The next song was another Linkin Park song. A new one, called “One More Light.” Again, I had never heard it and again I was in tears.

I knew though, it was not my end. I never thought that. I expected myself to, but did not. However, I found myself gravitating to a song of theirs called In the End. Why? Because it was his end? I listened to In the End after his passing, I even had it on one song repeat for a couple of days. Yet, somehow it was not. That song is a duet with Mike. His lyrics are backups to Mike’s rap. The song is quite negative. Yet, there is another message if you mute out Mike. His lyrics only from the first verses opened this section of the post.

A couple of days after his passing. He continued to speak to my soul. I heard something new. The word “It” autocorrected in my head with the text in parentheses. “In the End, (the pain you feel in the moment) doesn’t even matter. I tried so hard… Got so far… In the End.” I’ve grown because of him. And now, he is another person I cannot thank. His words, give me structure. Even after his passing. I have borrowed his words to open every section of this post, as a tribute to how much his words have touched me.

I’m Strong on the Surface, Not All the Way Through

“Don’t be afraid. I’ve taken my beating. I’ve shared what I’ve made. I’m strong on the surface, not all the way through.” – “Leave Out All the Rest” by Linkin Park.

No matter how strong you are, everyone has pains, everyone has weaknesses. Every person on this earth has battles every day. Some people have harder battles than others. What matters? It is the impact that you have around you that truly sets the weak apart from the strong.

No matter how “strong” you are if you only hurt people around you, that is weakness. No matter how “weak” you are if you can help those around you that is true strength. It does not matter if I am strong all the way though myself. Parts of me can be weak, and I can still be strong.

If I can build others up, I can succeed. It is the role I was born to play.

Well I Do

“If they say, who cares if one more light goes out? In a sky of a million stars, it flickers, flickers. Who cares when someone’s time runs out? If a moment is all we are, we’re quicker, quicker, who cares if one more light goes out? Well I do.” – “One More Light” by Linkin Park

More dedication. Why am I here? I am here to help. I have a new job which aligns with that. I help others do their job as effectively as possible. But, somehow, above that… I am here to tell my story. I will go back to writing. With more resolve than ever before. That is the result. I do not want anyone else to lose to depression, transphobia, or hate.

What kills hate? Understanding.

What breeds understanding? Information.

What transmits information most effectively? Experience.

I will turn my experience into something to positively change the world.

Who cares if more lights go out? Well, I do.

For all those that touched my heart, even if I could not touch theirs back.

For Carie. For Chester. For Leelah.

About the author

Josie

I’ve never been good at writing about myself. I’ve never been good at ‘talking up my strengths’ but at least I should try…

I am a 30 year old (gasp), woman. To me, it is just that simple. My life is slowly coming together into a form where I can be proud to call it my life.

Who am I? I’m a strong, loving woman that was assigned male at birth and is finally correcting that egregious error by biology. For most women if they have an urge like wearing a sundress, they just do it. For my first 29 years on this planet, that wasn’t a possibility.

I write to heal, then publish to inform. I hope my journey can make the journeys of people that come after me just a little less painful.

I also have a ‘day job’ as a Data Center Technician. I do an incredibly physical job lifting fixing and moving servers. I daily, walk into and then maintain ‘the cloud.’ Servers are still quite a bit larger and heavier than your desktop at home. So much so that I am the only woman on my team of 20 and one of 5 in the entire building of about 75. Technology is without a doubt a male dominated industry. Which makes me quite sad.

I wish I could better express who I am. I don’t feel like I’ve done justice to my history, my life, and my story, but for now, this will have to do. To me the most beautiful thing in the world is understanding and empathy. If we can have only one thing for each other person on this planet, I choose empathy.

1 comment

  1. Marcy Browning

    Beautifully written. So much I want to talk to you about in this but for now, all you need to know is. You are strong, you do help and you are worth it. Love-Mom

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