Its weird…for the longest time in my life, I didn’t think I was capable of much. And in saying that, I literally mean I thought I was doomed to fail at everything I did. Was I smartest kid in school? Not by a long shot but I was capable of doing so much better academically than I did. The same is true with college. I could have made Dean’s List in college…but I believed I was going to fail and so it all became a self-fulfilling prophecy that resulted in me dropping out of school my final semester.
The same was true with my relationships, especially my romantic relationships. The people I dated were often so similar to toxic people from my childhood and that, of course, meant the relationship was doomed to fail. The few times I was in healthy relationships, I unknowingly sabotaged the relationships myself. Why did I do this? Because I didn’t believe I deserved to be loved.
Now, I am sure that some of these feelings stemmed from my Gender Dysphoria. I mean, imagine feeling like I did and yet you constantly hear people talk about how gender dysphoric, homosexual and other “non-conforming” individuals are all deviants and going to hell. When you hear this as a child, it really screws with your head. When you hear it from within your family, it makes it even worse.
But that’s not the only reason.
Along with my father’s death when I was a child, I also grew up in a family that had multiple alcoholics…one of them being my mother. My first step-father, along with being an alcoholic, was also very emotionally abusive towards me. All of these things were a part of my life before the age of 10.
Why do I mention this here? I think it is because lately, especially during the holiday season, we see so many people struggling with mental illness and/or the belief that they deserve more out of life. After being left feeling abandoned by my father’s death, neglected by my mother as she paid more attention to her bottle of alcohol and a step-father telling me how worthless I was…is it any wonder that I struggled to believe I was worthy of success and love? Is it any wonder that I doubted that I deserved to be happy with my life as a whole?
Fortunately, I have had some amazing counselors who have helped me work through those issues. I still struggle with my depression at times, as I have written about recently. I still struggle with my anxiety at times as well. All of this is a direct result of the toxic environment I spent many of my childhood years living in. Fortunately though, compared to the old me, I want to get better. I want to improve. I believe I deserve to succeed at things. I understand that to achieve what I want, I have to make sacrifices at times.
I mean, really…I attended graduate school at a very conservative, Southern Baptist university as a transitioning woman…and graduated with honors…all because they had the strongest counseling program out of all the programs that were available to me at the time. Do we think I believed that I deserved this degree???
I bring all of this up because as I take this journey I am on, especially as I encounter those who reject me, I HAVE to believe that I deserve a better life than what I have had for all these years. I HAVE to believe I that I deserve an overall sense of happiness and security in life. I HAVE to believe that all those people who told me I didn’t matter, told me I was stupid, told me I was lazy and told me I would never amount to anything were wrong. I HAVE to believe that all those who now tell me how wrong I am to take this journey and who tell me I need help to “fix” this are wrong. To beat my depression and anxiety, I HAVE to believe there is something better out there for me.
So to all those people, past, present and future, who have or will try to tell me that I won’t succeed and that I don’t deserve happiness and inner peace…
Just watch me now.
See it on Flickr.
Photo Booth – Paradisco