Of Mint Leaves and Spider Bites

There's something utterly thrilling about the dopamine hit that changing something gives you. Like, unbelievably so. I understand that, as someone afflicted with ADHD, I struggle to make a more universally applicable appraisal of the euphoria achievable by simply doing stuff, but it's still something great. If you get yourself in the right headspace, you can even look forward to your next hit. I'm becoming one of those people, I think. Maybe I always have been. It's August 24th today, my "first day of college," and the lack of any real change is giving me withdrawal years in the making.

Let's take a step back, yeah?

It's 2017. May sits in her room, likely fresh out of a game of Overwatch (or some other game I find utterly uninteresting today), fingers slamming into a three dollar keyboard, bits and bytes of message data en route to an unnamed transmed; her only trans friend, of course. She's miserable- she doesn't really have any friends in person, she's wracked with dysphoria, her father's abusive, her mother refuses to acknowledge her identity despite her pleas, and, most of all, she's fucking tired all the time.The transmed casually assures her- hey, you can get on HRT! Once you're eighteen, you're free, and you can go out and do stuff. Learn to code, get a job. You'll be good! May buys it, of course What else does she have? Once she can drive, she can sneak HRT. Informed consent totally works for minors without parental consent. Who cares if the nearest clinic is two hours away? It's something. It's hope.

It's 2018. The abuse got worse, for a while, and May left her father's apartment for the last time, likely reeking of the weed he smoked. Her mother's starting to open up, and things are looking, well, better than they were before... but puberty still marches onward. She's scared. She still doesn't really have friends. HRT is on the ticket now, and that's something, but rural Virginia does not think or speak kindly of those whose genders misalign with their assigned sexes. She can get out at some point, right? She could go to school in Europe, or New York, or somewhere. She just needed to keep holding on.

It's 2019. May's on HRT now, for what good that does. Dysphoria's claws still scratch and tug and pull with every word from her peers' mouths. Anxiety consumes her daily thoughts, apathy in its stead when there is little to be stressed over. Her perpetual exhaustion pulls her into a living death, a state at which she can do nothing but amble through work and school ad infinitum, tears running down her cheeks as she cowers in the car during the time she has. It'll be better at college.

It's 2020. March, to be precise, May, a girl who has now more or less become myself, watches the world withdraw into the tiny little cage she's held herself in for so long. Someone pettier, crueler, or more apathetic would get a sense of pleasure from the irony, but Rose feels only relief. No more deadnames. No more shitty words. No more fucking Hickory.

The glee of change fades fast, of course. And now we're back to the present.

Today was my first day of college. This was it, right? The day the gears of change started up, the day the engine of growth hit its second wind, the day I finally started to feel accepted.

Okay, I mean, come on. You know what's happening in the world right now. That didn't happen.

I spent today sighing at Zoom errors, rolling my eyes at syllabi, and stammering my way through beginner's French, all through a screen. The same screens I've been staring at the world through for months, for years. It didn't give me a fix. It didn't give me the fix, that final push May waited for, the final push I waited for. So, hit by a burst of anguished motivation I very rarely find within me, I got to work.

I redecorated my whole room, tearing down the flags adorning the ceiling. I slammed out spider nests and made the room reek of peppermint-scented bug repellant. I cleaned the sheets despite it having been less than a week since I did it last. I moved my desk.

So why don't I feel any better? Sure, it's not a HUGE change, I'm not interacting with people, but I got some shit done! Hell, I wrote this essay! It's bullshit, I should have felt something. It's not like I have a tolerance for productivity, that would require it to be in any way consistent. Honestly? I think it's just that there's nothing I can do to properly replicate a significant fraction of the basic joy interacting with people would bring. The joy having close (as in proximity) friends can bring, and, like, fuck, touch. Seriously, is it really so much after six years of this bullshit to want to be held? I...

I got off track. I wanted this to lean closer to autobiography than blog post, but I'm really fuckin' tired.

The point is that I'm trying. I'm really trying, and things aren't better. Today serves as a monument to that. Things were supposed to be better today. They were supposed to be better weeks ago, months ago, years ago. I just want things to be okay, just for a little while. I just want to feel loved.

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