Why do I continue and continue to beat myself up for not transitioning earlier? For not speaking up louder? For not being more insistent, more forceful? In the past week, I’ve been told by both my doctor and my therapist that I really couldn’t have transitioned much earlier. That, starting hormones at 22, I was pretty close to starting them as young as I possible could have. That very few people start hormones at 18, and that very very few doctors will prescribe hormones younger than that.
That, realistically, there’s a very slim chance I possibly could have transitioned earlier than I did.
And yet, I keep beating myself up about it. Regretting that I don’t live in the fantasy life I constructed for myself, of going to school as a girl, experiencing adolescence as a girl, growing up into a woman. And I realized it has a lot to do with my own sense of agency, or lack thereof.
I’m not religious. I’m spiritual, and hope that there’s something more to existence than what we can see, but would consider myself agnostic (if anything). But I don’t believe that there is any overarching ‘plan’ or that we all have a destiny. I think humanity has enough good in it (and evil) to have a sense of wonder about our existence without having a man behind the curtain, so to speak.
But that does mean it’s hard to reconcile or come to terms with bad things that do happen. If I blame myself for my pain and suffering, if I take that responsibility onto myself, it causes a lot of grief. I send myself into depressive patterns, and don’t end up any happier for it.
But it makes sense. I understand how the world works: I’m unhappy because of my own actions.
Conversely, lets examine what happens if I say, “I did everything I could. I transitioned as early as I possibly could, and it’s not my fault that being trans is inherently difficult and emotionally painful.” In that case, the world is capricious and unfathomable: I’m unhappy because I had the poor luck to be born trans. Most of the pain that followed was not my fault, it was simply how the world works. That doesn’t mean we can’t work to change the world, and make things easier for future trans kids, but there was nothing more I could have done to make my situation any better.
That’s really scary, because it totally removes my own sense of agency from my life. I don’t mean that this should be taken to an extreme, that nothing bad that’s happened to me is my own fault, but it means a good chunk of my life no longer makes sense; it didn’t happen because I lived my life well or poorly, it just happened because it happened.
It’s a moment where some religion would be nice. The idea that everything happens for a reason, any reason, is really seductive, even if I don’t believe it’s true.
I’m working on getting through this, though. On letting go of letting go of the blame I hold for myself, and focusing on my history as a great foundation to build a future, rather than a shitty past to drag me down. I have some posts brewing that I’m hoping will eventually make way for my next performance piece, focusing on just these issues. But it’s a hard process, and not one I’m hugely looking forward to. . .