Reflections on the struggle to staying healthy within the demands of society.
I don’t know what I have been doing with my life for the past 27 years. You are born, given a name, your body defining your gender. For me it was Sarah, I was born and ‘F’ was checked on my records. Wrapped lovingly in a pink blanket, my life began. What followed were days filled with confusion, sadness, silence, joy, jealousy, love, hope, but mostly nothing. That is until now. And so I find myself writing as a struggling trans man almost 5 months in recovery from Bulimia. I have picked up things along the way, but there is so much more to find.
I thought life was simple. You grow up, go to college, get a job, start a family, retire, and then life ends. I was wrong, so very wrong. Life is so much more than just going through the motions, trying to fit in, and earning enough money to survive. Life has beauty, desires, and emotions. These can be hard to see if you are always hiding.
Life has its challenges. Those challenges can appear at any moment, you can be born into this world already struggling to survive. Location, race, gender, family, sexuality, health, employment status, or even a traffic jam. We all face life’s challenges daily, whether they are big or small. Life is exhausting and we are all here trying to keep up to find that happiness. Isn’t that what we all want, happiness?
That’s what I want, but I have lost myself in the process. My name is Kade and I am 2.5 years on hormone replacement therapy and recovering from an eating disorder that controlled my life for 5 years. I am finally seeing myself. The more I see of of myself, the more I realize I am so lost. I have always been lost. It wasn’t until the moment that I said the name Kade aloud that I began my journey out of hiding. I am ready to leap into the unknown, to seek out the glimpses I see of myself. There is hope for the future, hope to belong and find my place, hope for happiness. Fear and exhaustion accompany this hope. Some days I just wish I could quit it all and start over. But then I remember, I like the person I have become, I just forget to breathe sometimes.
Survival. One needs money to survive in this society. Get a job, apartment, pay rent, bills, food, transportation, and have some fun. I have never known what I have wanted to do with my life. You are asked this question throughout your life until you are there. I have a good job; 5 days a week, plenty of overtime opportunities, benefits, and I stay fit. I appreciated my job a couple months ago, keeping busy while staying focused on my recovery. I excel at it on my good days. Things were great, I was finally breaking free from that destructive cycle. Then food stopped consuming my mind. I was finally nourishing my body and I was feeling the benefits.
With newfound energy and desire, I sought out life. Filling my blank apartment with things that bring me joy and peace. Spending any free time getting my health in check, forming connections, discovering and seeking out new passions. Free time is limited. Life has its responsibilities, and one must work to stay healthy and sane in this society. Nourishing foods, a welcoming home, and self care keep my life from tumbling back into hiding. I am realizing that the life I need to survive is not the life I have. I am exhausted. So constricted by the rules, the constant struggle to sustain a nutritious diet, and the mental toll of feeling useless and insignificant. I know I can love my job, and I know there is more compatible employment out there that I may seek one day. But for now I am here.
My days are lonely; little interaction at work, and just cats as roommates. Pair that with anxiety, depression, and destructive coping mechanisms, I find myself here. Making connections out in the physical world is hard. Talking is hard. Writing brings out new ideas, emotions, and memories. No matter who you are, where you are from, or why you are here, your happiness matters.