zetasyanthis: (Default)
CONTENT WARNING: Disturbing imagery lies within. May trigger anxiety / PTSD.
 
I'm not quite sure why I'm writing these down, but I think it has something to do with a) keeping tabs on my mental health, and b) hopefully finding some story inspiration in them. May as well get *something* out of them. >.< If you want the last update, you can find it here.
 
Note that these are not particularly coherent, but the shards of memory I had upon awakening. Only items in [] have been added as sort of editor's notes after the fact.
 
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<Undated>
 
For some reason, I was at home [parents' place] (staying in my room) and everything was tense, but alright. I think at some point (don't remember it - reconstructed) I decided that I as done and basically stopped talking. TERRIFIED of mom, getting worse and worse, tension ramping exponentially. Somehow I was more comfortable with my dad, and invited him into room, gently told him. This was the last time, and he cried, but understood (or thought he did?). Couldn't leave, ever. >.< I will not ever return, not even for their funerals.
 
<Undated>
 
Terrified in a hotel room or dorm, racing between the levels. Trying to find the car and the right floor to exit on. Keep guessing wrong. Wrong elevator, wrong floor, strange signs on the floors. Shopping mall on one??? Parking below ground but above some rooms? Can't find it, just want to be safe! >.< Crying, desperate, sacred. Sobbing, dying, black. Crying, crying, crying, bleeding choking trying to hold neck together throat cut no voice. Crying, choking on blood.
 
<6/24/2017>
 
Chased around workplace by someone with a gun. Someone who wanted to murder me specifically. Very, very angry. Enraged. I think coworkers may have tried to help, but it still feels like they abandoned me. >.< Ended up racing up and down elevators trying to hide, then stairs (pairs non-intersecting?) next to elevators first, then another set at one end of the building? Other end had one too? [May be memories of College of Dupage?]
 
Eventually ended up racing down the hall on the third floor and recognized it. It was the second floor of the main building at my highschool. Ducked into (or tried to) one of the offices and ended up shot in the back, blew out a lung. Throat cut by a knife.
 
I died on the operating table. But somehow, some small piece of me refused to die. Extensive cybernetic surgery followed, replacing my brain, spine, and some other parts, and I eventually woke up, but I was dead. Some sort of precious, one-of-a-kind arithmetic engine was slotted into my brain, and I was finally able to cry. >.<
 
Before I passed out again, I held my kitty close and made them promise that when I finally died, they would give it [the engine] to my daughter, whose life it might finally save.
 
More crying, feeling of being ripped / whole, and woke up.

Nero

May. 7th, 2017 05:26 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
CW: Violence, Anxiety, Depression
 
Time for another weird one. (Feel free to blame The History of Rome podcast, which I've been re-listening to over the last week. Or, if you want to go meta, feel free to blame my anxiety, which has been spinning out of control the last couple weeks and demanding constant unhealthy input leading to re-listening to The History of Rome podcast?) Anyways, here's a weird one. It's going to be a mix of my typical status blogs, and a bit of unexpected empathy yet again. Think something in the vein of Orlando.
 
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Anxiety has been beating the fuck out of me lately. >.< I've had a few good days, but quite a lot more bad ones, and even though I'm making major progress in my therapy as of late, I'm just about ready to collapse. >.< From shame about my sexuality and very identity to depression that won't let me feel anything at all in the last two days, it just keeps coming. It feels like I'm being physically hammered on, as though someone is trying to break me with iron when they couldn't break me with tears. >.<
 
(Author's note: Yes, I am getting better, but it just doesn't feel like it right now. >.<)
 
Therapy on Thursday this week was particularly bad, and I was actually unable to get unstuck when we went searching through my past. (My therapist performs EMDR, meaning we go back and reprocess things, then return to the present.) In many ways, I'm still stuck there today, and it doesn't feel very good. >.< [VIOLENCE WARNING] I'm still lying there bleeding on the cold concrete floor, crying in a pool of my own blood and vomit, stab wounds oozing from my back, unable to do anything else but die. I'm still freezing, unable to see past the pain and tears, everything so, so dark. >.<
 
And so when I found an unexpected feeling of empathy yesterday, it really really shocked me. Because I wasn't the only one hurt, pressed into a life I only ever hated, and that ripped my soul apart. I wasn't the only one who wished she could hide from all the world, her music the only thing that kept her going. And you know what? I'd have made a terrible emperor too.
 
I feel very much like a dragon who's had her wings ripped off, and is bleeding out despite her best attempts. And it *hurts*. >.<
 
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(Author's note: It feels out of place putting this here, but I know I'll be asked if I don't say. No, as far as I can recall, I've never been physically abused, but apparently that doesn't stop my dreams from ripping me apart. >.<)

Kvothe

Feb. 26th, 2017 09:25 am
zetasyanthis: (Default)
CW: Mental damage, mentions of suicide.
 
It's been a while since I've written a journal, and it hasn't really been much fun. Some good things have happened, some bad ones, and I'm pretty sure I've been hurting myself by not working some of this out on paper. This is my attempt to deal with some of that.
 
You're probably wondering about the title of the journal, and I should probably try to make some sense of that.
 
I recently read a couple books that have kicked me a bit out of sorts. The Name of the Wind, The Slow Regard of Silent Things, and The Wise Man's Fear devastated me in a way I never expected. There's... a lot of pain in those books, and there's a lot of pain in my heart, and I don't know how to deal with it either. There are a lot of days where I just want to curl up and die.
 
I want to cry, and shake, and cry and hide... to disappear completely. I want my mind to stop grinding against itself like shattered glass, screaming breaking noises, and screeching noises, and screaming and screaming and screaming until I finally die. I fight insanity *every* *single* *day*, the loss of self and heart and home that seems to be ever stronger. I hold death itself at bay with fear and force of will, and fear the loss of myself far, far more than that of my body. And yet, I know what the grip of insanity feels like, and it would kill me in an instant.
 
I just want to stop being ripped apart inside. I want to be able to function as a normal human being. I want safety, and sanity, and home and love and quiet. I want to be able to listen to music without it having to be a shield against my fear. I want to be able to feel my cat's love, and my girlfriend's, and that of all those who try to tell me they care. I want to stop being broken inside, and I want to cry. >.<

Nightmares

Dec. 26th, 2016 04:51 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
[Writer's note: I made myself write this one, because I need too, not because it's comfortable. Disturbing, violent imagery follows. You've been warned.]

The last couple of nights have been rough ones. Nightmares, one actually recurrent (the first time I've actually had one of those), have haunted me pretty badly and left me exhausted, even after what should be a solid night's rest. Thankfully, I'm writing this after two nights of relatively safe sleep, but if I tell you that I took my emergency Lorazepam for the first time, I think you'll understand.

The first night, I dreamt of fire... fire and water. I was a marine, or some manner of soldier on a river with (indistinct) others, and the area we were in was very hot. Gunships raced the skies above, and though I could see everything both from the ground and a bird's eye view simultaneously, I could feel the adrenaline racing through my heart. The dream lasted hours, finally disappearing into a fog after a last massive spike of terror. A massive airship, a bomber, I think, was shot down above us and came crashing down into the river. I tried to dodge it, and *mostly* made it, but so many died. The entire river erupted in flames and terror and crying. >.< I could smell the burnt flesh, and the screams ripped into my heart like a knife.

The second night was even worse, though I cannot remember it now. Recalling the first to write what I have has blanked it from my memory, but only for now, I suspect. >.< The one recalled above was my first recurrent nightmare, and I am absolutely certain the second will revisit me again too. >.<

As for the Lorazepam... I took it on the third night, and it worked, much as I was afraid it might. I had the most restful sleep I've had in what is probably months, and that's a dangerous thing to finally see. >.< The fact that I slept through any negative effects it would have had on me means my first impression was 100% positive, and that's not good. It's hard not to take it now.

That said, I'm not going to take it again, unless I absolutely need it, and I'm going to be speaking to my doctor about it at the next visit. I'm honestly really scared that it made that much of a difference. I actually felt like a safe, happy human being for most of the next day.
zetasyanthis: (Default)
I haven't been taking care of myself again, and now I'm paying the price. Been missing my meds here and there, letting other things like work become more important than self-care. (Note: not a lot of misses, but more than I should have.)

And so I'm pretty messed up.

The damned thing is that I usually can't tell immediately, or even quickly, when I've gone off the rails. It takes a while for my brain to clue in that something is wrong. And something is wrong today. Something was wrong yesterday, too, which is why I've forced myself to stop today when I'm supposed to be working. And stopping is really, really hard. The last two days, I've spent, respectively, ~14 and ~10 hours working, way too many hours in too short a period of time. I've been hyper-focused on it, and even now my brain is chewing on what I was working on in the background, refusing to stop. I justified that time, saying that I wanted to learn what I was working on, but it was still far too much.

When my brain gets like this, stopping is really, really hard. I could literally kick my VM back on, or boot up my work laptop and work until I literally self-destruct, much like I did around June, 2015. If I gave in, I'd work until I cried and shook and shattered, crying into my pillow for my terrible shattered mind.

And so, I'm trying not to get there. I'm trying, as hard as I can, to stop that cycle.

I already took a couple of steps today to take care of myself, but I'm not quite sure how not to shake right now. I'm trying to sit here in Starbucks until I can relax, but it almost seems like I need to go take melatonin and crash out to sleep. (I'm trying not to do that, too, since messing up my sleep schedule will make things even worse.)

And so, I sit here, hurting. >.<

Broken

Sep. 25th, 2016 04:26 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
For Makyo.

Today my heart broke for a friend
for one I care for deeply
one who struggles with bitter curse
one that would end her cheaply.

My heart, thus broken, sang and wept
for deep depression's mire
for manic impulse, shattered mind,
that seeks the garrote wire.

But this I know, and this I seek
the heart behind the pain,
that brilliant shining wondrous light
that crystal without stain.

For in her heart, and in her mind
there lives a greater beauty
than all the world itself yet knows
though her pain keens acutely.

I know not future, know not past,
yet this, at last I know.
This fox with shining purple hair,
she must not ever go.

For in this world there are too few
too few hearts yet so fine
and it would break my heart and yours
if hers no longer shined. >.<
zetasyanthis: (Default)
This is another rough one, I'm afraid. Not sure exactly where it's going, but can just tell. Maybe the little girl crying next to me in the coffee shop as I write this is influencing me, or maybe she's just reminding me of the little one in me who's also suffering. (Poor little thing is struggling mightily with her math homework and her dad's trying his best to help.)

It's been another week, and maybe not a good one. I slept a whole lot, and did make a bunch of progress, both at work and at home, but I'm still as tired as ever. I keep hoping that'll change, and sometimes it does for brief moments, but they are far too few in between. (Yesterday was mostly okay, thankfully.)

So let's deal with the elephant in the room. Therapy was brutal this week, another deep session to try and work through some of the things that have been killing me over the last little while. As opposed to previously, where I'd made contact with some memories at the age of around four, this time I was faced with memories and emotions from around the age of six. And holy crap did they hurt. >.<

[Author's note: This one hurts. A lot.]

You see, my brother's always been a destructive force in my life, even from the time I was little. In this particular memory, though, destructive isn't quite the word, as he was too young (5 to my 6) to impact me directly. Instead, his impact was felt in the extra time and care he needed from my parents... time I never got.

Between his ADHD, school troubles, and many other issues, most of which I won't go into here, Andy always needed more. The problem is that I needed more too, and the giant hole where that love should have been ripped me apart. >.<

You see, Zoe (my therapist) says that when you're that age, the only way you can interpret that kind of thing is in terms of love. Attention, time spent, and emotional support translate directly into a child's perception of how much their parent cares for them. And she's right. At the age of six, and maybe even well after that, I had no other way to process that, even if I didn't understand how it was hurting me at the time.

A momentary aside: I know *why* my brother needed needed more help than I appeared to, and knew at least a little bit even then. I've talked in the past about being the 'golden kid' in the family, and I'm realizing more and more that I put myself in that spot in trying to take a load off my already overburdened parents. I pulled the stoic-little-kid-who'd-soldier-through routine, trying to make them proud, burying my hurt as deeply as possible, and trying to find some way to stand out in the hopes that they would see me.

I still struggle with that today. >.<

"I couldn't feel that they loved me. I still needed them... but I wasn't important."

And so I slipped away. >.<

[Author's note: There will probably be more posts in this series, but I don't have the heart to go on today. >.<]
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Man, it's been a year.

Early for retrospectives, I know, but *sheer sigh of exhaustion* holy moly. This hasn't been an easy one. It's been 20 months since I moved from Arizona and started this whole crazy adventure, and I'm pretty lucky to have done it when I did. I say that because I honestly don't think I have the strength to  do it again. If time reversed and I found myself back in Arizona with all the memories and knowledge I now have, but having to go back through all the hard times I've been through since, I'm pretty sure I'd kill myself. A lot of days I wonder how I never did. >.<

As much as I'm improving, and as much progress as I've made, this is still hard... every single day. Crushing pressure the likes of which not even the oceans can summon has given way to the kindling of a soul, but one who has been horribly mauled in the intervening years. Shards of self, like pieces of a broken crystal, have been slowly reassembled, but their glow still hurts to look at, the pain obvious in the broken light they cast.

I'm still here, and I'm still trying; but the body-blows have been devastating. I feel like one often does after a hard day of physical work: beaten, sore, and exhausted. Always, always tired. I know what this is, and I know I have to fight it, because I am improving, but there are days I'm still not sure if it's going to win. There are times (like now), where I would give anything to just stop hurting, to stop being afraid. All I want to do is shake myself apart, to scream and cry... but those tears still aren't coming. Some have, but there are many more to come. >.<

I didn't really mean for this journal to go in this direction, but I guess it had to be said. I'm still hurting, and I'm still hurting a lot. Maybe it's just that I can see it finally, but I'm a fucking mess at the moment and could really use some help. >.< I just want the pain to stop. >.<

(And yes, I am seeking medical help... just still feel like shit. >.<)

Hurting

Aug. 20th, 2016 05:43 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
I'm not exactly sure where I'm going to go with this one yet, but I feel compelled to write, if only to try and make sense of what I'm going through at the moment.

As a caution, I'm going to try and connect as deeply as I can while writing this, so this is liable to get pretty dark and upsetting. If you're in a bad head space yourself, this might not be the post for you. >.<

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Anxiety has been killing me the last few days. >.< It's been orders of magnitude higher than... well, I want to say "ever", but that's probably not 100% accurate. This is terrifyingly reminiscent of what I went through in my sixth grade year, the memories of which I'm still pushing away. (Some, because it's subconscious, and some, because I apparently can't face them quite yet. >.<)

With that said, I'm going to continue discussing this as though it is the worst, because those seem to be the words I need to use to connect with this and validate my feelings...

The last two weeks have been the worst two weeks of my entire life. I've made so much progress, connected so much better than ever before, but there is always more pain. Visceral fear and terror, the likes of which should make me cry and shake until I feel better, if only the tears would come. But they will not, and it is killing me. >.<

I know I'm getting closer. I know I'm getting better, and that this is the dark before the dawn... but this darkness is so vast that I do not know how to navigate it, the pain so deep that I absolutely cannot cope. >.< I'm doing what I can to remain functional, to go to work and come home again, to do all those things that life demands of us, no matter our condition, but I feel like I'm failing. There is a hole in my heart, and all beauty seems to drown in it. >.<

My tremors have been getting worse. They encompass most of my upper body now, especially my neck and head, and I'm sorry, but I've been hiding them. >.< I'm as scared of them as I am of the things that are causing them, and the pain that will not cease. How much longer I can go without them being noticed at work, I'm not sure, but I'm in a pretty bad way.

I am still broken. >.<

I am healing, but it hurts. So much. >.<

This pain has always been here. But I pushed it away, hurting myself even worse in the process as I kept myself apart from whatever I have been. I am trying, desperately trying, to just be myself, but it is terrifying, and I hurt so much. >.<

*Her* pain (a fragment of myself, aged about four) to *my* pain is a *massive* breakthrough, even if it's killing me. >.<

I might yet end up in the hospital here, and the thing that scares me most is that *I have to be okay with that* in order to get through this. I'm not yet there, but I made it half an inch yesterday. >.<

*curls into a ball with her kitty* >.<
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Progress, and Coming Out

This Thursday marked 10 weeks since I started HRT. It's been a little rocky (my anxiety in particular increasing with all the rest of my emotional content), but overall, it's been a shocking improvement. Even my therapist has been surprised, and that's to say nothing for the what the additional connection as allowed me to accomplish *in* therapy itself.

I'm going to talk about that more at some point here, maybe even in the next few days, but for now, I'm out. Speaking quietly to a coworker on Tuesday, I was met with such a depth of empathy and trust that I can still barely believe it happened. He was sad, though, as he was retiring Friday, and didn't expect to meet the actual me before he left. So... I changed that. I wasn't really planning it, didn't really think it through as much as I could have, but I took the leap. I'm Zeta now, really. The paperwork hasn't caught up yet, but it will in time, and that's what matters.

As for the rest, I leave you with some trimmed tweets from the last few weeks, including some from my private feed. I love you all, and I could never have done this without you. <3

Jun 11:

Found something tonight. Something wonderful... and something terrible.

I may have just felt (and recognized) love directed at me for the first time.

I... don't have words for that.

June 16:

I know I may just be growing breasts, but it feels like I'm growing wings.

July 20:

I swear... I probably have the best chance I've ever had of becoming a safe, functioning human being. HRT is doing *so much* towards that.

And I'm not even talking physically right now, just emotionally. This is unbelievable beyond even my best hopes. >.<

So much love. <3

Thank you. For everything. <3
zetasyanthis: (Default)
I was reading a few things today and they got me thinking.  I want to expand on my previous discussion about shame.  I'll start by saying that shame is absolutely *the* thing that has crippled me from a mental health standpoint for years on end.  It still is impacting me, and though I'm now getting professional help in dealing with it, it's something I feel a need to talk about.  Why?  I know I'm not the only one.

---------------------------------

So let's talk about shame.  Shame is one of society's ways of saying "No, that's wrong. That's not acceptable here."  And, in all fairness, society does sometimes need the ability to say that.  It should be fair for people who care about each other to communicate about harmful behavior and attempt to come to a resolution.  But... shame isn't the way that happens.

Attempting to influence someone through shame is, quite possibly, the most toxic and passive-aggressive thing you can do.  We've all been guilt-ed by shame at some point or another, and we all know how it goes.  Disapproval of personal behavior can start with as little as a nasty look, and can, in time, escalate full blown social isolation.  Rather than addressing the underlying problem directly, shame relies on the person performing the undesired behavior to eventually become uncomfortable enough that they chose the group dynamic over their own.  Even worse, since there's no direct communication about the cause of the disapproval, the person subjected to it is often left in an anxious state, trying to guess what they might have done wrong.  Sometimes it's clear cut, but not always.

So let's talk about the toxic effects of shame.  It's not like we don't know what it does to people.  It's not as if we don't know it drives them to anxiety and depression, to self-hatred well before it makes any change the person outside sees.  This process of internalizing the fact that something about yourself is wrong can take years to unravel, and that's only assuming the person in question actually manages to reach out and ask for help.

I guess what I want to say here is this.  Shame sucks the life out of the person it is directed against.  It is the tool of those who do not have the courage to speak out and actually say what they think problems are.  "She knows what she's doing wrong." and "He's getting what he deserves." in reference to these kinds of actions are an outright cancer, and we need to start cutting it out.

---------------------------------

With that out of the way, I'll add my own story here.  This is something I've never written down, and I'm honestly not sure how it'll come out, but it's a start.

I grew up in a household that used shame and passive-aggressive behavior as a method of control, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.  It's been ten years since I left home and I've barely made a dent in the damage that it did.  Though I'm working with a wonderful therapist on this and other issues now, I still can't function entirely normally in relationships, to say nothing of my issues with gender and sexuality.

In that household, like many others, we were taught from the time we were little to not "air our dirty laundry in public".  Basically, if you had a personal problem, you were not to discuss it or otherwise let on that something was going on around anyone outside my immediate family (the unspoken idea being that to do so would bring shame upon all of us).  In practice, this extended at least somewhat into discussing issues that affected us within the family as well, leaving us alone an isolated with our problems, repressing and pretending like everything was always 'fine.'  That's a word I can hardly use anymore, as it and the corresponding "It's nothing." are now huge red flags for me in any conversation.

Here's the thing.  Directing shame at 'undesired' behaviors (sexuality, gender, etc) inside the family, while directing those within it to never speak to outsiders for support was a fucking terrible system.  It created a self-reinforcing feedback loop that turned anything outside 'normal' into self-hate, and forced me to emotionally disconnect from my family and wear a mask at all times in order to self-protect.  I understand *why* they did it, that some of these things (religion especially) bring into question their own sense of identity in a way they're not comfortable with, but it's still not something that's easy to confront.  Or forgive.

I'm still fighting these demons, and I don't win every day.  Some days they best me, and it's everything I can do to force myself to go to work.  I'll talk more about my response to anxiety and the accompanying depression in future posts, but suffice to say that I think I understand why anxiety and paralysis are linked for me now, largely as a result of managing to write this out.

---------------------------------

I want to leave with a few resources that have helped me over the years.  I'll be talking about these more in future posts, but for now a short description (and the links) will suffice.

QC is a story about a group of friends in the northeast US who move into an out of relationships with each other.  All of the characters are 'real' in the sense that they all have issues, some of them very serious.  Running the gamut from anxiety to control and OCD, to outright grief, this strip will make you laugh and cry in equal measure.  And all the time you'll be learning, about both yourself and others.

http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1

Venus Envy is recent find, but one I wish I had found ages ago.  Both the artist Erin and the main character Zoe are transgender, and though Zoe's struggles take place way back in high school (well before I managed to break out of *any* of my shell), they still mean a lot.  If you've ever wanted to understand a transgender person's desire to just fit in, be normal, and be accepted, you'll want to read this.  Beware though, it's not an easy read.  Lots of tears ahead.

http://www.venusenvycomic.com/index.php?id=2

Sunstone is another recent find.  I've actually never considered myself to be interested in BDSM-related material, but this comic caught me a bit by surprise.  The way it portrays an alternate lifestyle in such a positive and loving way, with no fear or judgment, is absolutely huge.  Learning new ways love can be seen and experienced is never a bad thing, and as much as it surprised me, I think it might surprise you. 

(NSFW link warning) http://shiniez.deviantart.com/gallery/35675685/chapter-1-completed?offset=0
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Starter PSA.  This is no longer my main platform for interaction with the furry community.  Please follow me on SoFurry if you want regular (non-journal) content.  (Journals are cross-posted here since I know not all of you have an account over there at this point.)

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I've had a rough couple months, and though I plan to journal about that at some stage, that's not the focus for today.  Today, I need to talk, vent, and (maybe) cry about what we do to ourselves in the name of normality.  I can't speak for everyone, but I'm going to try to frame out what I've done (to myself) and what it's cost.  I'm a little scared to find out how much it's hurt me, and even more scared about what I can and can't do to fix that, but I guess we'll see as this moves forward.  (Stream of consciousness writing, activate!)

I'm terrified of putting my pictures online.  I'm terrified of someone linking my real name to my furry identity (Zeta Syanthis).  I'm terrified of someone linking my furry identity to the secondary accounts I use for adult material.  I'm terrified of an employer finding those links and deciding that maybe I'm a liability rather than an asset and firing me or maybe just hiring the next engineer instead.  I'm scared that I don't know what my body is doing some days, and terrified that I'll never be able to be sexually happy, because my brain demands things I physically cannot do.  I'm terrified of society's judgment in all of this, and of the harm many would visit upon me simply for being something they choose to fear rather than understand.  I'm scared of the monsters in the dark, my own destructive kinks that even I don't understand or want, and some days I hate myself for them, because they're just as wrong as all the rest of me. 

Every day, I struggle with the judgment of other people, and even worse, with my own internal judgment of myself.  The cost of this on my own mental health is staggering.  "What if they don't think I'm working hard enough?", "What if they hate me for being who I am?", and "What if my parents fully disown me when I legally change my name?"  This is stuff that is utterly caustic, and has been a leaking vat of toxic waste in my heart for years now.  I'm working with a (fantastic) therapist on this, but it feels like a lot of this stuff is coming to a head recently, and I'm a bit overwhelmed.  (Background:  I've set a deadline for myself to finally start HRT by the end of October for my own sake, and it's forcing me to deal with some of these issues as intended.)

---------------------------------

So... let's talk about identity.  My name is Zeta.  It's what my friends call me, what Dakota calls me, and what I identify with in a way that "Mark" will never be.  The name itself was an outgrowth of a several things, and just like me, it changed from its initial forms to what it is today.  It's traveled the journey with me, and I can't just pick another one.  That's not how this works.  :P  However, it also has a problem...  It was originally intended as an internet pseudonym.  There's a lot of things associated with it that would instantly become more-or-less public due to Google if I were to change my name.  (Zeta Syanthis is crazy unique and 100% googleable!)

Even if I was okay with all that information becoming public (and I'm not sure that I am - some folks would really squick at the fact that my 'sona is a hermaphrodite), there's the consideration of my secondary furry identities.  Before I joined the fandom proper and actually started going to meets, I was a lurker for more than 12 years, and active in various role-play chats on and off during that time.  There are secondary accounts spread around various sites that aren't immediately linked back to this identity (I've been somewhat careful), but it's inevitable that there are enough that someone could find them if they were really looking.  (Given how trans folk are targeted online, I *have* to assume I may be at some point in the future.)

Now, though I have no adult art of Zeta right now even on those accounts, I'd really like to be able to get some of it and have it online.  I certainly have enough favorites that are viewable on those to be damning as is.  I really, really want to be free and open with my sexuality, but I work in very professional circles, and it might also mean I become unemployed (or even unemployable).  (On top of that, I really wish I could journal about some NSFW things that I am not handling all that well, and that just adds to the pressure.)

Basically, ideal me has my own name and identity, is proud of who and what I am, and secure in my own sexuality and kinks...  Easy, right?  (Cue alarmingly hysterical giggling and crying.)  I know it's going to be a hell of a fight to get there, so much so that I've been paralyzed into indecision for a while now.  Meanwhile, my anxiety has been skyrocketing, and I've been falling apart under the pressure.  That can't continue, and so I'm going to have to start working on this.  I'm working with a therapist, but I need all the support and advice you guys can muster to get through this.

---------------------------------

So, let's talk about costs...

(I have to be real about this.  There are going to be costs here, and ones that I have to acknowledge and accept rather than just fear all the time.)

1. My Parents

I haven't talked to my parents in 3 months.  The last time we spoke over the phone was on Mother's day, and my mom said some very hurtful things to me.  Our relationship had been going downhill for a while despite my attempts to repair it, but I finally realized that the level of negativity coming back in every conversation (not just about furry / transgender issues) was actively harming me the more I exposed myself to it.  I (peaceably) broke contact for a while that day, which hurt a lot, but I think it's given me some space to heal... ... but...

I don't exactly want them out of my life, and they honestly haven't done anything so horrible as to be excluded from it.  They didn't take my coming out of the closet re: transgender very well, though, and have basically refused to acknowledge it.  My mom has explicitly told me that I am not to wear female clothing if I travel home for holidays, however, and she refuses to not use the term 'cross-dresser' at this point, which is not exactly helpful.  They are both older and fairly conservative, though.  I didn't realistically expect them to be happy or supportive about this day one and knew it'd take a while for them to come around.

That said, when (because if I'm honest, this isn't an if) I go for a name change, I think I'll lose them ... probably permanently.  Both are older, and I don't know that their health will last the years it'll take for them to come around, especially if I change my middle and last names (which I do not like) too. 

1b. My Brother

I've not written a lot about my brother here, but he could have his own series of journals.  Honestly, I could be doing better in supporting him, but I don't even know how at this point.  (He has some serious mental health issues that are not being treated right now as far as I know.)  Going to have to let this one lie until I figure out some of the other ones, I think.

1c. My Sisters

My sisters are both about 20 years older than I am.  They're very close to my mom, but really really understanding.  I'm not in regular communication with them like I should be, but I *think* they'll be supportive.  The close link to my mom may cause some issues though.

1d. Extended Family

I'm not very close to my extended family either right now, but that's due to some of the emotional shut-in-ness I've had over the past few years.  I think that if I reach out to some of them, I may get some support, but that's going to take a few years.  Some might be really upset that I hurt my parents with all this though, so I honestly don't know.

2. Employment / Co-workers

I'm still really shaken up by my first firing a few weeks ago.  That said, my new manager (as well as a few others in the management chain) are aware of my plans to transition, because I brought it up in the interviews.  (At the time, I wasn't sure I wanted the job, so I was pretty open/aggressive in my questioning of them too.)  My transitioning isn't a problem for them, and they've actually gone out of their way to be supportive, but we'll find out how well my co-workers handle it once they become aware.  Obviously, that could go just about any way, depending on their own viewpoints.  The good news is that I'm edging on desperately needed in my role right now, so my employment is reasonably secure regardless of much of anything else at the moment.

Back to the naming / Google issue.  Ideally, I would combine my multiple accounts (forcing the separation is both time-consuming and really reinforces my insecurities about it), but I'm not sure how to handle the fact that you could Google me and find adult material relatively easily.  (Requiring FA/SoFurry logins helps, but won't really stop anyone who's curious.)  Whether it's art of my 'sona (I already have one tasteful nude), favorites with kinks, or even a discussion of mental instability / sexuality like this post, it's a problem.  In theory, folks wouldn't really care, but I'm sure some will.  Any future employers doing background checks certainly will, and I have no idea what to do about that.

---------------------------------

Basically, I have a really fractured identity right now that's seriously messing me up, and I have *got* to start working on that.  Only problem is that I don't know what to do.  Name change is probably a year away at least, but that's the biggest hurdle as far as I am concerned right now.  I can't go on HRT and be "Mark", and I can't just change the name I've gone by for that many years.  What does do?

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Zeta Syanthis

June 2017

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