I Fail at Support Groups

From time to time I think about going to a support group and from time to time I have, only to discover that I really don’t like the environment at support groups. Now that I’m in a different city, I find myself wondering if the support groups here are different than the support groups where I used to live and there is that part of me that wants to hear about the issues that other trans women are going through. In part for solidarity, in part to offer what support I can and in part because when I hear about what others are going through, it often minimizes what I am…I think it could be worse.

Which seems awful, really. Is it awful to feel better because things could be worse?

I’ve never been able to do go to those groups more than once or twice a year, meaning I’ve been to very few of them. Too few to make any real connections with any of the people there. I’ve made stronger connections to other trans people online, but very few of those have continued beyond casual Facebook connections. I was close with a small group of women for a time, but after my surgery, we lost touch…or maybe it was just me.

I’m not especially good at maintaining relationships beyond those that are very nearby. I’m actually fairly rotten at it and more so with trans people. But there are times when I feel like I need that connection, need to talk with someone who has been through what I have. I’m just not terribly interested in the politics. Support groups have their politics and in some ways, being where I am, I don’t really fit into the group structure in any meaningful way. Plus, I rarely socialize at bars or coffee afterward. So in a room full of people often on the outside of things, I am an outsider.

So I go looking for a connection and find nothing like one and so I don’t return and just go back to a life without a meaningful connection to another trans person.

Do I need that?

Sometimes I think I do…I’m just way too shitty at making meaningful connections to forge one and hold on to it.

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In the Vicinity of Clackamas, Oregon

Time seemed to stand still, as it often did in the county jail cell where she waited and wept and wondered why she had that extra drink. Wondered how the world worked where just a minute, a moment made mistakes matter.

She was happy to have her cell phone, though. It was contraband and if she was caught with it, the consequences might be severe, or not. She could just lose the phone, really. But it was nice to have. She texted with a friend on the outside and he sent her jokes to make her smile and internet pics to make her laugh. She kept up with the blogs she liked to read and would comment from time to time. She thought of herself as a kind of gadfly and would like to poke at others in a thoughtful, if snarky way. It was a thing she did to pass the time.

And she needed things to pass the time because every moment in jail was the longest of her life and she wished she hadn’t had that last drink and wished she hadn’t refused the cab and wished she hadn’t got behind the wheel.

When she was young, she thought the worst of people in jail and being in jail, she still did. she thought the worst of herself. After all, jail was for criminals and killers. She was a criminal. She was a killer. She had one too many and maybe one less and there would be two more kids going to their prom.

So she belonged in her little cell with her cell in Clackamas County Jail.

At least Verizon got good reception there…

What is it about the end of May?

Six years ago, my daughter was born at the end of May. It was a scheduled birth. We knew she was coming and, well, the birth of a child is cause to celebrate and worry and stress. That being said, an amazing day. Life changing.

Two years ago, I went full time for good (it started as a summer adventure than never ended. But the month before was pretty stressful because I tend to do everything possible internally to be stressed, psyching myself up for the challenges. I was ready for it, but really nervous. That being said, it was an amazing time. I celebrated it at Disney land.

One year ago, at the end of May, I had my surgery. The month of May both dragged on and flew by and the end result was amazing. Life changing.

Here I am about to enter yet another May full of stress. If all goes well, the end will be amazing. Life changing.

If not, I’ll have the summer off and life will go on as normal and, well, normal’s pretty good as well and I’ve had a lot of life changing recently, so I’ll be okay.

But for now? Stress. At least I’m on a diet.

The Conversation

I’ve been writing this blog semi-frequently, sharing things as they need sharing rather than writing constantly and consistently as an exercise in writing as much as a need to vent as I used to on my old, now deceased blog. I killed that blog because it had become a very contentious place where I was as likely as anyone to get down and dirty. Now I’m offering this blog up to a greater deal of exposure, I have no interest in it being a sticky ground for trolls. I am interested in conversation, though. And even though conversation can get heated, I will respectfully keep it civil.