Through the Gray: Depression and Anxiety in a Butch Body

Here’s to every sunken couch in every wood-paneled office

Where you sit staring at a face paid handsomely to care about you

Counting down 50 minutes in your head

50 minutes to fill with all the thoughts you avoid during the week’s other 10,080 minutes

50 minutes to force a smile and a nod and a “Yes, maybe this did all start with my parents”

Here’s to every morning you’ve found yourself staring at the subway tracks

Laid out stark as an exclamation point before a barreling train

And you think how easy it would be, it would be so easy

So easy

Here’s to every visit home when you’ve wanted to claw the faces off a family picture

Taken a lifetime ago, before you existed as yourself

Before the death of the “normal” daughter your parents always wanted, who never actually lived at all

Here’s to every waiter that mistakenly calls you “Sir”

As your own mother can’t stand to look at you over her filet mignon

Here’s to every time you hid in a women’s room stall

Waiting for the last person to leave

So you can slip out without scaring anyone today

Here’s to every late night you caught a stranger staring at you on the train

His eyes a boiling cauldron of hate, confusion, and disgust

And when he gets off at your stop, you wonder if this is when it finally happens

And if it is, do you even know how to really fight

And if you don’t, will your mother bury you in your favorite suit or her favorite dress

Here’s to every pill bottle clutched like a life preserver

And every pale orange oval that will take the edge off existence

And make you feel a little less of everything

A little less sad, a little less worried, a little less scared, a little less lonely

But also a little less excited, a little less hopeful, a little less joyful, a little less horny, a little less awake, a little less present, a little less real

Here’s to everyone living with just a little less color in the world

Let’s find each other’s hands through the gray




12 thoughts on “Through the Gray: Depression and Anxiety in a Butch Body

  1. I’m so damned sorry you’ve had to go through this. I wouldn’t wish being in the hole on anyone, ever. Depression and anxiety are hard enough for me as a femme who wears dresses and makeup. You really brought home how not conforming to gender role bullshit can make things even worse. I hate that it does. I hate that so many value living up to others’ expectations over being yourself.

    The first part, I totally relate to. I only started talking to my therapist, instead of sitting sullenly and responding only with “Um-hmm” and “I guess,” because I’m cheap and I hate wasting money! Then once I started talking, I couldn’t shut up, and I tried to pregame how I’d cram all the stuff I needed to into a session.

    I hope you’re doing much better, or will soon.

    • Thanks so much. It helps a bit writing it down somewhere, though, you know? Less to carry around with me.

      I hope the same for you, friend.

  2. Here’s me reaching out to find your hand. Your words are poignant, stark and deep. I appreciated reading your post. Thank you.

  3. I have NO IDEA why you weren’t in my reader but today I realized “I haven’t seen anything from Bren in a while” and came looking for you. I’ve missed you blogging. I am sorry that you’re going through all of that. I know it sounds like a platitude but if you keep up with the therapy and all the work that goes with it, things will get better. They absolutely will. When I was 27, I finally went to therapy because I realized that sitting on my bed, clutching the pain meds I’d been given for an injury and fantasizing about death, was not what I wanted. Other women fantasize about sex, I day dreamed about dying. I realize you aren’t likely at that point (but I don’t want to assume) and I hope the therapy is working for you. The world needs you, Bren. 🙂

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