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1. Is there a plastic issue (biologic AND environmental) basis to unusual gender identity/expression? Eg., dioxin?


In the throes of my despair, I am the only one.  I feel like I am falling of a precipice of the self that has been eroded by a million thoughts that drag me down. There’s the underlying theme of disappointment both in myself and by others in myself.  How did this happen?  I have almost everything a person could want and much more than most. Poverty of this kind has nothing to do with money.

I know that it’s the thoughts I think and the beliefs that underlay them that fuel my daily struggle: I hate myself. I am full of resentment and bitterness – the stories I tell myself –and hate myself more for not being able to overcome them. Sometimes, I live moment to moment, breathing to remind myself it’s the only thing between life and death, but I don’t think this is what they meant in yoga. I’m moving time along just waiting until I can go to sleep and get relief from my hateful thoughts. I’d be worried, if I hadn’t spent my whole life like this.

There’s hardly room to breathe in my home occupied by my larger than life husband who says he’s only trying to make me happy. How can I possibly complain – it’s all for me, apparently. A suffocating marriage.  I put it into context (“first world problems”) and I tell myself I could do worse.  And then I read this:

So when I read this article I took from it the word resilience and the spirit of coming back from despair. Can I escape this hell? How do I make sense of my life that will allow me to get past it? I offer a prayer to the god of hopeless cases. Peace of mind is what I ask for.


In kindergarten I brought a pair of Indian moccasins for show and tell. The teacher, Mrs. Yeoman, told me to go next door, to the other kindergarten class to show them too. I froze. The idea of it filled me with anxiety, but how could I tell anyone that? I went into the hallway that connected the two classes and stayed there for what I thought was a long enough time and then returned. No one was the wiser, especially me.

Perhaps it was the first time, or maybe just the first I remember, but it was not the last time I “faked” it to get through uncomfortable tasks. It did become a pattern throughout my life. I needed someone to take me by the hand to guide me through the feelings, but that never happened. I am pretty sure my parents operated on the theory that if they couldn’t remember anything before the age of 5, that we wouldn’t either and it didn’t matter much how we were treated.

So where did the shame come from? Which came first — the chicken or the egg. At that age, you can tell a lot about who you are from how you’re treated. I was the last kid in a large family — the baby, as it were, about as wanted as a bargain basement pair of shoes. My mother told me I was “wanted”, which meant that she wanted “a friend” for my older sister, but apart from serious jealousy, we didn’t really have a relationship. Three years is a big gap when you’re under ten.

The shame came from being nobody in my own family. I didn’t fight it; I had no weapons, nothing at which I could shine. I needed approval, but the conundrum was this: if you had to ask for it, it was invalid. It had to be spontaneous. Warmth and love happened when I was sick. I got attention when I was naughty. I was ignored much of the rest of the time because my mother was so busy and my father was never home. I was lonely and forgotten. I was ashamed because I was white trash.

What is the purpose of all this? Is there some therapeutic value to writing down what I’m feeling? I’m caught between giving the dark thoughts life on paper, and keeping them loosely contained, like snakes in a basket. If I had one wish, it would be for peace of mind. My mind is like a elementary school tug of war game. It was probably the only activity for which I was chosen near the top of the list because I was a fat kid. Fat and forgettable. Did I tell you this was not going to be a fun read? Some people cut themselves. Some people overeat to punish themselves. I just think about any one of a million memories of my childhood and see myself alone and clueless.

So today’s battle is going to be won by sticking to the script. Work. Shop. Movie-watch with DD#1 and then home to another round of the usual vices. I don’t think I have another recovery available to me. I did this to myself. I have no one to blame but myself.

If only there was a way to just change that belief – that I don’t deserve anything. I feel so bad about myself, I don’t blame anyone when they get mad at me. I just want to hang myself sooner. I think: if they give me enough rope, I will hang myself. I get that. Why are some people more graceful than others while they journey to the finish line. There is no grace for me. I am unworthy.

What did I do to get this way?