Composed of clockwork

By , January 31, 2010 3:27 am

I am a clockwork woman, wound up by pills each morning, rundown and empty by the end of each day. I feel nothing but rough textures of transitioning, nothing passes my lips but bitter tastes of transitioning, my sight is filled only with desolate views of transitioning, my ears echo with discordant sounds of transitioning. My movements only mimic those of laughter and life.

I am stuck in myself, trapped between a history I don’t want and a future I can’t see.

Life branches out in front of me, and every opportunity must be taken. None can be missed. Every missed opportunity is a mark against me, of weakness and laziness and lack of strength. Because I am still chasing down the opportunity I did miss: a chance at transitioning younger, quicker, more gracefully.

And so I chase and I chase and I chase. And so I try to catch something lost forever. And so I wind myself up, let myself loose, and fail. Again. I hold myself up to standards impossible to meet.

No opportunity satisfies, because I could have should have would have done it better. I should have committed more fully. I should have given it more of my time. I should have started earlier, procrastinated less, given more of myself. I should have. I should have. I should have. Whatever ‘it’ is, it’s always the same.

Every day is doomed to failure, from the start.

I. Can’t. Win.

Why bother playing a game that can’t be won? At moments like these, I fantasize about removing myself from the board entirely. Playing a rigged game seems like an effort in futility.

And I can’t for the life of me – for my life, for living, for the in-out-taking of another breath – figure out how to change the rules. How to not judge every waking moment of every waking day against the failed expression of an eight year old, the broken and aborted attempts of self-definition at fourteen, the years of silence after closeted silence.

I would like to treat each moment as itself, not as a cipher for transitioning. My record catches and skips, “transitioning, transitioning, transitioning, transitioning, transitioning -” I open my mouth to speak but, inevitably, the same rats and insects and snakes crawl out, writhing, to consume me. Transitioning, transitioning, ALWAYS FUCKING TRANSITIONING!

Who did I wrong to be cursed with such a body, such a voice?

My clockwork is not well-oiled. It does not run smoothly. I am not of solid construction or resilient make. My gears grind throughout the day; I feel misalignment and catching in my chest and hear the throb of poor workmanship from head to toe. Fragile pieces seem to fall off, delicate into dust.

My hands shake and cannot pick a flower without gouging into the dirt, exposing the open and raw earth.

I cannot brush the hair from your face without hurting you.

If I hold you, I will shake us both to pieces.

8 Responses to “Composed of clockwork”

  1. Jonah says:

    Who is the you at the end of your piece? I’m not sure if I’m missing a literary reference somewhere here. But in case I’m not:

    Options for
    ” How to not judge every waking moment of every waking day against”
    -Meditation. Biggest flaw- difficulty of clearing mind, interference of chronic pain.
    -Exercise with rhythm facilitating good physical feelings. Maybe dance? For me, that’s walking, usually. Biggest problem with it is that sometimes it lets the thoughts flow a little too much when I’m down.
    -Medication. Haven’t tried antidepressants, but they ought to be on the table if they aren’t already.

    Will be back to finish the thought.

  2. Jonah says:

    I continued that list and then thought, “Y’know what, Rebecca already knows all of this.”

    So, what are you doing right now to make yourself more confident?

    • Rebecca says:

      Thanks for calling me out, Jonah. (Meant seriously, not sarcastically at all.) You’re right, I do know what I should be doing to take care of myself better. I’m trying, at least a little; I’m no longer adding new commitments (and, as of 2/14, will be done with all of my current commitments), and I’m exercising more (albeit not as much as maybe I should be).

      I’m also starting to think about medication, something that’s never appealed to me, and still really doesn’t. I’m going to talk to my therapist about it this week, though, because I feel like I keep removing all the things I think are making me unhappy, to find I’m still just as unhappy (if not even more unhappy).

      I’m not sure how to get at the root of it, though. How to forgive myself and the people I love, to find some sort of reconciliation. To judge moments against themselves, and not against past decisions that I cannot undo.

      I’m more and more tempted at the thought of making more major breaks – of quitting or moving or something that would feel like a big ‘real’ change, hopefully to prompt a big internal change. But we’ll see. That’s a huge decision, obviously, and one I’ve just started thinking about. I’ll be posting more about it, I’m sure…

      (And you weren’t missing any literary references; the ‘you’ at the end of the post is someone in my life who I’ve hurt.)

  3. Kei says:

    I suppose trying to make your life run like clockwork would only end up with one wound up with their hands on their face.

    Many people curse the positions they’re in, but at least you’re doing something about it.
    Keep your head held high.

  4. Your Personal Troll says:

    I thought you did this to be “happy”… you’ll soon find that happiness is something you make, not something you become.

  5. Your Personal Troll says:

    On the other hand, lots of people feel like clockwork humans. I feel like a clockwork woman somedays, feeling as though I ebb and flow with hormones and am not really anything outside of those. Welcome to womanhood? That’s generally how it feels.

    And, to some degree, yes, your body will always be in transition, you will generally always need hormones to keep your voice high, your skin smooth, your fat cells reposited properly outside the muscles…

    You’re going to be fine. Find small ways to be happy, and if things do feel so dire as you might want to harm yourself to have control, find some control within an antidepressant, to help quell the chemical imbalances for a bit.

    Life is hard, but the important thing is to live it the way you want to live it– and then, to find ways to be happy within whatever crap life throws at you.

    Revisit a favorite hobby. Walk in a favorite place. Dress in some favorite clothes or just sit someplace comfortable. Listen to music that brings out peace or emotion– find a place to write and draw out your thoughts. Just be, focus on being, not on what you will be, but what you are now. Embrace your youness and find things to enjoy about the journey.

    These are things I tell myself and my sisters when we’re stressed. Life sucks, but make it yours.

    And you are making it yours. You can do this. Just breathe.

    • Rebecca says:

      I really needed this comment, and appreciate it quite a lot.

      As I said in reply to another comment of yours (which I saw before this one) I don’t understand where you’re coming from when you doubt or question my transition. I can point to lots of ways right now in which I am happier than before I started transitioning. And I want to clarify something (again):

      Which isn’t to say transitioning automatically makes (or keeps!) me happy. But not transitioning was making me unhappy (suicidal, even). So transitioning gets this huge block out of the way, so I can focus on simply living. Transitioning allows me to focus on the important things, finding peace in what I have, and lifts a weight of unhappiness so I can focus outwardly, on the world around me, rather than forever focusing inward on myself.

      Obviously, I’m not doing a very good job of focusing outwardly right now, and there is something that is still causing me to be unhappy, be it part of transitioning or something else. But I actually did not transition to “be happy,” I did so to allow myself to be happy, when a big block was out of the way. (At least, that was the plan…)

      All that said, this most recent comment of yours is, I think, the most helpful in the past few days. It reminds me that (it seems to me) you’re being snarky to get a rise out of me, not out of actual malice. Thank you for your kind words. I really needed them.

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