A Root Issue Found, Questions RemainPosted in Acceptance, Depression, Identity, Insight, Personal Stories, Self-Acceptance By Katie Bongiorno On October 18, 2012
During my last session with my psychiatrist, I was being “very honest and open” according to my doctor, “like never before.” I don’t like to think I hold back, but I do. I guess this particular visit I was sort of worn down, and more than a little tired, so I wasn’t thinking ahead of the curve of my brain/mouth filter. Truth was just sort of spilling out.
I need to know I’m a good person, somewhere inside of me. Please, tell me I’m a good person. You know what? It won’t even matter, to be perfectly honest. I won’t believe you. I believe almost nobody when they tell me, and the few who I want to believe, or to some extent do believe, it doesn’t seem to last long before I go back to doubting myself. And yet, it only makes me more driven to prove myself.
My good friend, my mentor, my big sister, my teacher, my rabbi (originally derived from “teacher,” as she helps guide me in my pursuit of Judaism), my mother, the woman known to you all only as The Doctor, or Doc, a psychiatrist where I work and a very very dear friend, said this: “They always say that 50% of solving a problem is identifying what it is to begin with. You have a long road ahead of you but now you have some idea where to start & where you need to go. Just remember that life is journey. This is part of your journey. You have to discover what the rest of us already know: that you’re special & have wonderful gifts & talents to share.”
(I believe if you look carefully, that is, in fact, not actually a run-on sentence.)
I don’t even remember how it was that I started on this subject. See, I have an issue where my brain is running so fast (overclocked brain, bitches, yeah!), I have internal conversations at a mile a minute, and I actually forget what I did say and what was just in my head. My ex can actually tap into this, I think, because she seems to know what my though process was that got me to the next thing I say aloud. I think it might have been that I was talking quite simply about how I always feel like I can’t do good enough.
I’m a child abuse survivor, finally getting myself and my three younger siblings out of that situation when I was 13 years old. When I was going to mandated counseling following my Dad’s successful custody battle for us, I was told by the social worker then that I was “the most well adjusted 13 year old he’d ever met.” When I went back to see him about three years ago after encountering suicidal tendencies and other problems, I told him “Perhaps not as well adjusted as you thought.” He laughed remembering the comment that he made about me.
Since then, I’ve dealt with the animosity left over from that life from my sister, which, I admit to having fueled for years, despite trying to overcome that in recent years. Because of what my sister told them, my aunt and grandmother also joined in against me. My grandmother joined out of some misguided sense of feminism, and my aunt out of some inexplicable hatred of men, which has only redoubled itself since my transition began. Finally, I also dealt with the constant psychological warfare waged by my stepmother against both me and my sister, which only served to further divide us.
What I’ve been left with in the wake of this shocked my psychiatrist when I blurted it out, after explaining all of this. I don’t like myself. In fact I hate myself. I don’t ever feel I’m good enough, and I am reduced to hoping that if I do enough good, one day I’ll believe it when someone tells me I am a good person. My friend, Doc, is one of the few people who I really do trust enough to judge my character and believe her when she tries to tell me I’m a good person. I just wish I could internalize that, somehow.
“I’ll mow your lawn, clean the leaves out your drain. I’ll mend your roof to keep out the rain. I’ll take the work that God provides.” Bruce Springsteen “Jack of All Trades”
I’ll fix your car. I’ll fix your computer. I’ll fix and give you a laptop if you don’t have one. Just like me, and please, tell me I’m a good person. I’m not trying to buy you, I just want to know that I am a good person, and that I am worthy of being liked, and yes, being loved. I have done some good in this world, haven’t I?
Anyway… my doctor thinks this is my root issue, and I think he’s right. But it doesn’t make it any more fun or positive an experience. I hope that some day, I’ll believe you when you tell me, though, that I am a good person.
“Tell me I have led a good life… Tell me I’m a good man.” – Pvt. James Ryan, “Saving Private Ryan”
Katie is a self identified out and proud transsexual woman, and a lesbian. She currently resides in Westchester, north of NYC, working for a major hospital in New York City as a Junior System Administrator. In her "spare" time, she likes to rebuild old computer systems and give them to friends and acquaintances (mostly other trans women) who lack a computer, as well as road bicycling, and daydreaming about building all manner of mildly complex items from kayaks to bows. When not doing these particular things, she often can be found taking apart just about anything she thinks she can get away with destroying for the sake of hacking, modifying, and tinkering. The most frequent victim of these assaults is usually her car. Often, she is wearing a dress or skirt far too nice (and possibly short) for the job on a mechanic's creeper, sticking halfway out from under the car like the Wicked Witch of the East. I mean, really now, how many girls do you know who change their oil in a Michael Kors dress?