In first grade, I brought a conch shell to show and tell because I’d heard if you blow in them, it can sound like a warhorn. I like to think the warrior ancestors of every child in that room cowered at the wild roar of the shell I’d taken without permission from a counter in my house. Some years after that, I moved into a closet-sized apartment and spent most of my time working and seeing how long I could go without talking to another living person. Depression is weird because you can get good at it. I’m terrible at crying, even if I’ve had a lot of practice, but I was good at depression. I avoided supportive people like love and hope were the knuckle tattoos on the fists my friends would use to beat me.
My life got better. I traded my apartment for a room in someone’s house which felt like trading a walk-in closet for one of those shitty hotel closets with the hangars attached to the bar so nobody steals them. But it was still a nicer home, and I liked it. Problem solved. But I was lonely, and that is not an easy thing to be for long periods of time. I like to think of the person I was before I met my partner as sitcom character during the pilot episode: I didn’t look or act like I would in later seasons, and the most I can say is that I was there.
I met my partner, and life got exponentially better. Still depressed. What the hell. There were a few things that could have been causing it, so I went with the one that was easier to think about. I gave as much time and energy to grad school as the average cat will give to licking their butt when you’re right about to sleep. I worked harder for that degree than I had worked for anything, and I got better at school and things started mellowing out.
Still depressed, running out of things that could be causing this. I started eating regularly and drank less caffeine. Still fucked up. I spent more time with my cat. Still felt like my existence was one prolonged fart in the infinite, dispassionate void of more important gas.
Turns out I was depressed because I’m transgender. Fancy that.
I came out as a trans woman to my partner in May of 2017 and started medically transitioning soon after.
There are a lot of things this post could be. It could be a clarification for the people who thought I was a guy–hi, all of you, my pronouns are she/her and how did you not notice every single picture I use to talk about myself is a girl? It could be a timely chance to humanize a community that many forget is actually made of people who work and sleep and cry whenever they watch Coco (holy shit, have you seen Coco? Fucking devastating.) It could be a chance to tell jokes about how weird it is that I am literally paying to go through puberty a second time–my medical bills are proportionate to how much angsty music I listen to now. And it kind of is all of those…
But mostly this post is to call attention to just how many jokes I’ve made about this over the last few years.
Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, so if I’m the only trans person you know you’ve met, just remember that we exist, we’re people, we don’t want to die, and we’re generally pretty funny so you should hang out with us.