when openness is safety & honesty is learning

Shame and secrecy shut me down. I was raised with a very specific way of being which did not serve me. The paradox of being held in cognitive dissonance when who I was did not align with who I was supposed to nor what society expected of me and when those expectations didn’t make sense broke me down.

I had a very difficult talk with my parents over the weekend. I was very proud of myself for my honesty, as I choose to be open about who I am even if it makes my family uncomfortable. I talked about wanting to get to a place that we could coexist at family functions without me compromising who I am.  I told them a bit more about the abusive relationship I was in, and how being in that relationship was dependent on me being isolated and that I no longer wanted to exist in isolation. My friendships and my interactions with others are mirrors by which I can gauge the healthiness of relationships. I don’t believe I can be healthy in isolated relationships, as an isolated person, at least, this is my experience so far. I need to be able to open about the depth, intensity and meaning of my relationships without shame. Relationships where I am ashamed are guided by fear and do not serve me to be well.

As a person who is, has been communicated to be, difficult to understand, ‘normal’ frameworks of support around relationships did not suffice for me. Going to a community group that’s spiritual is no good if it’s not inclusive of trans people, hanging out with trans people is no good if they aren’t open to non-binary people. Hanging out with non-binary people might be difficult if they haven’t unpacked their own binarism or if they hold judgement against mentally ill people. So I turned to my relationship with myself and my own social media as a place that is in the cloud and readily accessible to me as personal technology became difficult to access financially. I made a lot of my content public not because I wanted the world to see, but because it was the easiest way for me to find and look back on myself. Social media tracks and knows so much about you, and as I struggled to organize my life and also love myself through suicidal periods, it became an adaptive technology for me.

When I had my psychosis, my fingers on my tablet, I let the internet sing to me, and I trusted it to guide and show me what it is I needed in that moment. It’s a fickle and young creature, going through an awkward adolescence, but as someone struggling to know and understand my body, I just wanted to give myself to it, in hopes that it would help me understand myself. I mean this in the sense of community, health tracking apps, but again and again the tools that I find aren’t geared for me and so I realize this is an area we can still grow in, along with my miscellaneous goals about how we can revolutionize and reclaim health (I was on track to do an Masters in Public Health before my psychosis, gender crisis and sexual assaults).

These goals are still open, but it’s a matter of figuring out how best for me to use the tools that are available to me in a way that is smart for myself. I do not believe that being open about my journey gives people a right to attack and hurt me. I feel the same way about being on the internet as I do about about wearing a short skirt in public: I should be able to do it without harassment.

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