I've suffered from occasionally incapacitating self-doubt my entire life. I have had a tumultuous past. I'm an only child. My parents divorced just as I was graduating high school. My father just wanted out, and my mother was intolerable to live with. (To make a long story short, she kicked me out and then harassed me and the family who took me in for months, claiming the family "sucked me in"- that's the kind of person she is.) Ever since I graduated high school I've been aimlessly wandering the world, it seems. I've been to five different colleges and flunked out three times, mostly because I just can't stick with anything long enough to make it work, or I start some program and then realize I totally hate it and can't imagine myself doing whatever it is for the rest of my life. I've lived many places, including England, where I was married for a couple of years. (Incidentally, my ex husband was an MTF who, for reasons I still don't understand, halted transition and decided to live as his birth gender.) I don't have a great employment history, either, never having held a job for more than a few months.
Often, I feel that I've failed or quit everything I've ever tried, that I'm never going to be anything more than a drifter, that I'm utterly useless and I'm going to continue to be utterly useless until I just pick something and stick with it. I can convince myself, and people around me, of anything. For instance, I can point out many things in my past that would seem to lend themselves to my pursuing a particular major in college, or a particular job. I've can't even count how many times I've done that, and yet I've never been able to bring any of those ideas to fruition. I'm interested in everything, I just don't seem to have the intestinal fortitude to see anything through. I do believe that if I'd really been able to put forth the effort in many, if not all, of those situations, I might actually have found myself in a fulfilling career. How do I know that transition isn't just another one of these ventures of mine, undertaken in a moment of manic enthusiasm? How can I possibly know if this is right for me, when so many things have seemed so right for me in the past and haven't been, or at least, I've decided they haven't been?
Part of the problem is that every time I'd get an idea I wanted to pursue as a child/teenager, my well-meaning (but mentally ill) mother would tell me that I was "just running away", and that I should simply pursue option A, the one she picked for me, because it was safe and practical. I was going to the two-year county community college and I was going to be a nurse. At sixteen I was on the waiting list for the nursing program. Well, I'm 28 now, and I'm obviously not a nurse. Thing is, I'm not much of anything. I feel like I'm losing precious time. I feel like if I don't make some decisions really damn soon, I'm going to grow old still being a lot of "almosts" and "used-to-be's". It's scary.
In my defense, there have been reasons why I've found it difficult to get things accomplished. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia/CFS at the age of 14. I've dealt with chronic depression and generalized anxiety disorder for many years, and one of the times I flunked out of college was due to having been put on an antidepressant (Paxil) that did a lot more harm than good. I've always had some problems with attention span, but my antidepressants have increased the ADD-like symptoms over the years. Also, as I've mentioned before, I have chronic back problems, largely due to my breasts. The pain is constan, and at times it's so severe that I can't walk without a cane. Then there are the hormone imbalance issues, which cause a whole other cluster of problems. Of course, I can't afford health insurance, so most of this stuff just goes untreated and continues to worsen. I don't look at any of this stuff as an excuse, though. People get through worse than this and become very successful. Why can't I be the same? Why shouldn't I be?
So here are some more questions: If I've got all these issues already, why do I want to add transitioning to my list of "complications"? Why am I even considering this? Do I think it's going to somehow solve all my problems? Do I hate being a woman, or do I just hate my body? After all, there are ways to change my body that don't involve becoming a man. Here's another problem: if I answer these questions with big long explanations, am I just going to be trying to convince myself of one thing or another based on whatever feels comfortable at this particular moment? In light of that idea, I'm going to leave those questions alone for now, and close by saying, "Boy, am I fucked."