What do I want exactly? What’s next? Do I want to become someone else, so strongly that I can put my past self away? Am I performing alchemy on my sense of self? Do I want to integrate all that I am? Do I actually believe that it’s possible? As in, never before have I believed that actualization, individuation was possible for myself. I would desperately search for clues and every hint I received was a ‘no.’ I don’t want to discredit myself at every turn. This is something that I know I know: that I searched desperately for hints of who I am, how to understand myself. I don’t know why spending the majority of my life in that desperation still hurts me. My material world throughout my life, with its moments of precarity and miracles, has been for the most part stable. Materially, I’ve always had what I need. My desperation and despair meant that it didn’t matter what language I used to describe how I felt — there was never a receiver on the other end. I do have that now. A partner who loves me as deeply as I’d always hoped it was possible for me to love someone else. Which is why, as I write this, I feel confused. That conditioned, inherent wrongness I’ve always felt about myself is still there. Not as tortuous as it always was before, but I don’t know why this feeling of desperation still surfaces; when I have what I need, so much more than materially this time.
One narrative about identity crises is the one where the person in crisis knows the truth they must admit to their inner circle, outer circle, “the world,” and most importantly to themselves. In one version the person in crisis knows their big secret truth and other people don’t. In another version, the person in crisis doesn’t know, but everyone else does. I have always felt that I don’t know and neither does anyone else. They’re okay with who I’ve been. And apart of me wants to delve into and attribute this to philosophy, or political theory, or critical race theory, sociology, etc. But that’s what happens: I’ll find this morsel of something I relate to, and the desperation comes, clutches it. I end up hoping beyond hope that this is the answer, the BIG REVEAL. But no one else is that concerned about me letting out some big truth from inside myself. It just feels like some days I can sit for a second or two with all that’s happened to me, all the ideas and perspectives I’ve tried on like clothes, and say ‘Well, this is all of it.’ It never lasts for long. What’s different right now is that over the past two years, I’ve been given more and more reasons to not just live, but to try and reach individuation — a scenario I never thought was possible. And part of me knows that there’s never one big answer to the big questions. That’s why I worry that I just want to escape. To say goodbye to who I’ve been so far in life, lie them down on their deathbed, give them what they need in their final moments that I decided for them. To show that life isn’t big enough for one life. One identity. One way of being.
I grew up and into adulthood believing, no, feeling, that there was something fundamentally incorrect about me being a living person. I never knew how to fix it. I worry that in some ways questioning my gender is reinforcing and complementing the sense of “I, as an object and living being, am wrong.” Existing, but shouldn’t be. It’s made the idea of accepting myself that much more of a painful prospect. I don’t know what I want. Maybe I want to experience reincarnation without having to physically die first. Do you see what I mean? Wanting something in a way that absolutely can’t happen? Am I lazy? Too scared? Am I in a spiral of depressed and anxious thoughts that just seems stupid from outside of me? I.e., should I just know better? Am I seeking redemption of some kind? Is that what individuation means to me, redemption? Am I actually in pain from being human, or have I just believed that I’m less than human for too long?
I feel so desperate to see myself in others. Never the whole, just parts. And with this, it’s much harder. Identity has always been a pain for me. It frustrated me with jealousy when I’d see someone else so certain and flourishing in who they are. I’d be happy for them, excited about what humans are capable of being, thinking, and creating. But at some point that self-hating envy would hit. To feel that grounded — in a place, in a scene, in a devotion. When I imagine myself emulating other people’s groundedness in idyll settings, it feels like I’m pretending. Or that I’m on vacation, but in my imagination. The inference of permanence is the illusion that makes the temporary so pleasurable. I know I wouldn’t last forever in those settings. I know I’d find some other microworld to become interested in, imagine myself being planted there, until it happened again. I feel like a ghost.
I remember, when I was at the lowest of a period of severe depression that lasted about five years, lying on my bed in an apartment I had to myself except for roaches and the occasional rat. I was lying underneath the window. I often would look up into the sky between my building and the one across from me. I remember imagining that if I got to choose my form after I died, what if I chose being a part of the wind? I would go everywhere and see nearly all things, people, and places. And because wind wouldn’t be itself if it were not in motion, I would be able to accept the circumstance of this constant transience. Then I thought about where I was at that time. Alone. In a city where I knew no one. Feeling like I threw myself to another part of the country so far that it would be offensive if I called any of my friends back home. I thought, I already am the wind. Tears rolled down past the tops of my ears. It’s always been extremely rare for me to cry by myself. I knew it was significant, but I didn’t know why. I still don’t.