2018 was a bitch. 2019 could be worse, or better.
What I’ve learned is that you really do make the difference in your own life — given that you ask friends and family for help. I’ve learned that building community and relying on our neighbors and peers makes the unbearable bearable, the impossible possible, and the awkward quite enjoyable. Because of the support network that I have created this year, I am coming out of what seems to be the longest, arduous year to date with scars that make me beautiful. Let’s dive into why I think like this — heaven knows that some of you need these good vibes.
2018, for me, was the year of me beginning my transition as a trans woman and the year that I truly accepted who I am and who I can become with my mental healthcare. In January, I began to come to terms with my androgyny because of my 2018 goal of becoming more self-aware.
I did previously go through denial of this in previous years and some denial did happen every now and then for the first few months of 2018, but then the idea of being trans and accepting the fact that I had a lot of mental health issues started sinking in like an anchor by April when I crashed and burned to make my first hiatus from everything. I have never taken a hiatus before. I consider myself to be a hard worker, despite being a perfectionist. Little did I know that “cleaning up house” with a sort of rehab of assessing and addressing mental health can go a long way.
Summertime was a time of growth and further discovery of who I was. I had discovered an extension of my academic ambitions being my desire to become a high school social studies teacher and aiming to graduate with an MeD at ASU for this reason. I have been in college since Fall 2013. Back in 2014, I would have been terrified at the thought of disappointing everybody with how much I am lagging behind my high school peers — Class of 2013. I suppose my successes and failures in politics does have a role to play in this shift in mentality. I have learned that there are far more important things to accomplish in this life than proving myself to others. That is easier said than done — confronting fears of any kind even if the solution is simple. This year alone I discovered that I have gender dysphoria, ADHD, general anxiety disorder, depression, and PTSD and in this year alone I have made serious strides in all 5 of these issues.
Fall came around the corner and served as a climax of the year. At this time I had already finished my Christmas shopping and prepared myself for a new semester. Little did I know that by the end of the season that I would be taking further radical steps to combat my mental health. I had rebranded a pet project of mine: Overly Critical Otakus into my own identity as the Reikan many knew and loved as it was. It was time for me to enter in a new phase in my life. As the US 2018 midterms came to a close with many wild events both societal and personal all happening simultaneously.
By the time Thanksgiving came around, it was annually the beginning of a generally enjoyable time for me: holiday season. I tend to busy myself by accepting many obligations from friends, family, and yearly wrap ups for previous commitments. I got straight A’s in all of my classes for the Fall semester and my Christmas prep was all done. So I used December as a light vacation to relax and work at my own pace (and regularly allow myself to get sick around this time for this reason). Finishing up some projects as well that I had been working on as well has proved to be satisfying as well. After all, I am now finally entering the new year with publishing and starting to create a video on my ambitious attempt to inform the anime community on what we can do and learn on “How to Fix the Anime Industry”. I had spent Fall 2017 until the end of Fall 2018 researching, carefully compiling this research, and finally taking the steps to show the world what I can do as a content creator.
Here I am now in the new year, in 2019, feeling like I’ve exited a character development arc and am ready to “get to the good part” in life. I’m now at the point with combating my gender dysphoria where I comfortably rely on my support network when I need it and am cross dressing more comfortably and more often in public — hell, I’m now starting to put my own makeup on! I meditate, diet and at least do brisk exercise regularly all throughout each day — which in turn does wonders with all mental health issues. I have a concrete plan to push out more content — FOR REAL THIS TIME (no empty promises here) and I am learning from other creators to improve how I create content myself. Overall, I am proud of where I am as a person and still recognize where I need to improve. My New Year’s Resolution is to work on all of these “things” that I have in mind and make short term goals so that way it feels tangible and easy to accomplish.
Now for the goods of all of this. My advice for those of you with mental health issues in general is to remember this mantra and repeat it so often that you get sick of repeating it: “progress not perfection”. This mantra has been so beneficial for my mental health that I have allowed it as a sort of “hack” to countering any sort of dysfunction. A shift in mentality is crucial to combating mental health issues. Another way to look at your own mental health is shifting a “fuck me” mentality to a “I can do this if I allow myself to work on myself” mentality. With that kind of specific mentality, it is not only positive, but it is also open-ended enough to allow you room to expand on a thought of: “Why am I not allowing myself to change?”. Socratic deduction of your own thoughts is tough work. Many write down their thoughts in a journal. I personally made meditation a habit to have internal dialogue that is like talking to a familiar friend — my own personal demons so to say. You don’t “conquer” these issues right away, but rather seek to understand it as it is and understand where it came from before doing anything about it. Being honest with yourself is the best thing that you can do here. Once you understand yourself more, then you may begin to work on it with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques (no one side fits all stuff here, I suggest seeing a therapist for a personalized recommendation for your condition).
My advice for trans people: give zero fucks in 2019 no matter how far you are in your transition, no matter where you are on the spectrum and no matter how you see yourself. It is detrimental that we stop allowing society to knock us down and for the love of all that is holy we help one another get through the toughest of times. From one trans to another, I have got to say the negative vibes in the LGBTQ+ community in 2018 made me disassociate as much as possible. Yes it is good that you are comfortable with your support network. What I am pleading for us all to do is to accept help and see what we can do to actively work on ourselves with other’s help. We need community to fight against a shit society that mechanically works against our existence. So as a trans woman I am proposing that we make it a community New Years Resolution to give society the middle finger and continue to express ourselves in what ways that we can — so long as we accept the help around us (no I’m not talking about exorcisms or some shit, gtfo).
I’ve got everything off of my chest. New Year, New Me! Now go get that grain, fam!
Oh yeah, while you can and if you can, please spare a sister some change every month on my Patreon. I’ll be changing the rewards soon, but I will deliver when I can. Peace!