Over this last year, so many things have happened, to me. They were difficult. But there were also so many moments of joy and bliss. I’ve flowered myself into a better, more confident, healthier, happier Zoey.
So here’s a quick summary of triggering events over the last while…
Since writing the #30DaysofSelfCare series in March, I’ve split up with my partner, which completely and utterly broke me; I was a wreck. The possibility of losing my job next year or not having money to pay my bills overwhelmed me. I lost a number of close friends, and so felt like I had no one to talk to. I ran into some money troubles and couldn’t pay rent; I sold my things just to get by, and eventually had to give up my apartment. My cat died (the circumstances of her death is still unknown to me, so very little to no closure). And I had lost all confidence and faith in people and in who I was in the world. All my support structures were pulled out from under my feet and I was struggling to cope. Needless to say I fell into a crippling depression, stopped eating altogether, nearly drank myself to death, became utterly self-destructive, and very nearly killed myself. I was lost and broken. It was hard. Really hard. I sometimes still cry about it.
These series of events weren’t necessarily the cause of my depression or anxiety. It was the last straw that broke the camel’s back, the culmination of a lifetime of being fine, of always being okay.
And wow, did I break.
It had become apparent to me that for most of my life I had struggled with depression and anxiety. But no one knew. Including myself. I’m generally good at solving problems and coping so it appeared that I was always fine. And no one ever asked, because I seemed fine. Zoey’s always fine. Always.
For my entire life, I had always been scared that people wouldn’t love or like me if I showed them who I really was. That I had to make myself likable in order be accepted by the world. That I had to be perfect in order to be loved. And the relationships I had forged over the years have largely enforced that idea. Where I was always the person supporting, never supported. And part of my anxiety comes from a place where I’m constantly worrying – worrying about what people think of me, worrying about the stability of my relationships, about my career, my ability to do things and do them well, about the future, about everything. EVERYTHING.
Add to this the anxiety of being trans in an intolerant and violent society.
There is this part of me that was hidden from the world, and sometimes, even myself. I call her the Girl in the Yellow Dress. She’s young, vibrant, easy to love, without a care in the world, has long curly black hair, and never wears shoes. She is me, and I am her.
And the world buried her.
She was buried by so many people while I was growing up, the part of me silenced by those who were supposed to nurture and protect me, and to love me for who I was. And instead, I needed to become this likable, perfect person in order to be loved. And funnily enough, performing this version of myself wasn’t getting me anywhere. And all the years of pretense and worry came crashing down, shattering into tiny imperfect sparkles all over my bedroom floor.
I can’t say how it happened, but the Girl in the Yellow Dress had been making so much noise, begging and pleading to be seen. And then I saw her. And she saw me. I started acknowledging her in my life and slowly things started to change…
And surprisingly, I found my way out of a very deep dark hole.
I started cooking again, and gave up alcohol for while. I moved back in with my mom and brother, who are truly some of the most supportive humans in the world, in their own way. I started making new friends who affirmed my belief in myself (these are the best kinds; they are my cheerleaders). I started going to therapy, which has been a proper blessing in my life. I started going out by myself, doing things that I enjoy, on my own, without the worry and consideration for other people and what they might think. I started going dancing and clubbing until 4am again (I forgot how much fun that was). I started eating properly, and lost so much weight (blog post about this coming soon). I applied to law school. I’ve been riding in cars with girls, and boys, and everyone on the spectrum. I’ve been celebrating myself in all the shades of grey and empty spaces that fill the complexity of my being, for no particular reason, because that feels good!
People would often say to me that I’m so different now. And I typically respond by saying “I don’t think I’m any different, I’ve always been me”. But now I finally see what they’re saying, They’re acknowledging that something is shifting or has shifted, that I’m connected to myself more than I ever could’ve imagined. That I’m finally living in my true self, and letting that grow and flourish. That being authentic to myself and honest about who I am and the things I’ve experienced are valid and important.
I’m truly thankful for this last year. Not in any kind of motivational, one liner, what’s-meant-to-be way. But thankful for the opportunity to finally be able to see myself and be myself and live in myself in all the beautiful shades that I am. Thankful for the people in my life who recognize, affirm and support me, who see me too. Thankful for the Girl in the Yellow Dress.