I am me.

To start the day off in a positive way, I give you this.

I am what I am. I am me.

Like most people are ‘me’ for themselves. And though it might sound silly to say this, it is in fact one of the strongest statements one can make. Because it underlines personal pride and strength. I wish everyone could state these three little words in all confidence realizing that they really are who they are. With all defects but also with the beauty and strength they have. Unfortunately many people never get to that stage in their lifetime but I am hopeful that one they everyone will.

So, what and who is that ‘me’ that I am?

Well let’s say it like this to explain it a little…

I am proud of myself. When people ask me if I was a guy then nowadays I can safely say that I never was because I at least do understand that physical construction doesn’t define masculinity or femininity because it’s in the mind and the heart. And right after that I would probably pinch them in the butt. I am also a lesbian in love with geeky stuff and gadgets and fashion and I do wear lipstick. Every day. Wether you like it or not while kissing. Oh and when I have a girlfriend I really do love her until the other side of the world. And although I love the female attire I am pretty damned good with heavy camera’s and equipment, look stunning in trekking gear and I can most certainly read maps and find my way around. Anywhere. Anytime.

Ok, I am also transgender in the sense that I transitioned without dying first. Pretty smart thing to do as it saves me the long waiting for reincarnation without certainty of the outcome. And it was not a nice thing to do. It scared the shit out of me, was painful and it ruined most of my private and professional life. Friends proved not to be friends, work proved not to be something that I could take for granted so I lost my businesses and ended up in heavy debts. It ruined my marriage and my God(s and Goddesses) I have cried so many tears that it could fill a mid size mountain lake.

On the other hand, I just restarted life as if nothing had happened. I learned a new trade and some new tricks and even became frikkin happy at times. And that was a first. I’m struggling often, am depressed every now and then but also regularly in love and f*cking amazing in what I do and create. And I have lost the ability to be scared of most of the crap that other people fear as their worst enemies. I learned the relativity of money and the joy of true friendship, the beauty of a song and I even sing the damned song myself every now and than. Never thought I would do that. And on top of it all, I learned to write and visualize and although the fight is sometimes long and hard I am out there and you, yes you, are reading my scribblings. Which is quite nice actually and I thank you for taking the time to do so. Oh, and did I mention that I do have three great kids? No? Well then, here it is: I do have three great kids!

Thing is my dear friends, I can do so much and so much more than all these grey mice living their grey lives in a grey society. I live with color, sound and images, words and stories, friends and lovers and in spite of the occasional backdrop (ok, a few too many sometimes) I do all that with energy and strength. And I do that without having to thank a white bearded old sucker high in the sky sitting on an imaginary cloud of nonsense. (I feel more attached to the vivid, colorful Hindu Gods anyway.) And I do all that and I am who I am because I endured and I never really gave up. While struggle and depression have become an integral part of my life, shining and radiating and being awesome from time to time is the better part of my life now. And for all intents and purposes (I love that Shakespearean line) I am proud that I live my life to the max of my ability and I am proud that I have so much love in me that there is no way that in my lifetime I can get rid of it all. And if you didn’t join me in my current efforts to make a difference in a positive way I sure hope you will join me soon in one of my next endeavours. And if there is no new endeavour coming from me than I am either disappeared and vanished somewhere or I am to be cremated. And that is for as far as I am concerned still a long, long time from now.

I can only hope, dear friends, that you will see the real me in this picture. Because this one stands for who I am, who I want to be, what I want to do and how I am in the happiest moments of my life.

So, as I said, I am me. And I don’t have a clue why I write this today other than I just felt the urge to do so. Maybe it’s just because I love you and I think you are worth that love.

© 2012 Alice Verheij

Depression and comfort.

I guess most of my true friends know by now. My not-so-true friends are probably oblivious of the fact. Anyhow, I am depressed and that is an emotion that is difficult to handle. It is also an emotion, or state of mind, I happen to be very familiar with. The reasons for depression are not that interesting. Obviously it has to do with the challenges in life that, although I am living in the ‘rich’ west, are too big for me too handle. A bad economic position and the fact that in my life I am the only one and there is no other one are the foundation of my depressive state.

What a lot of people do not seem to understand is that people fighting a depression are not seeking pitty or anyhting like that. Just accepting the fact that some people are not ‘the lucky ones’ and not ‘the happy ones’ in life would be quite enough. But as I said, that is something a lot of people are not able to accept somehow. They are continuously trying to ‘support’ the one with a depression by saying that life is not that bad and things will really get better. Well, my friends, that simply won’t sink into the minds of the depressed. There is however a simple way to prevent that emotional blockade that pushes people down instead of lifting them up: simply acknowledge the hardship. I for one cannot remember that any person at any instant on his or hers own instance told me that it is true that my life is a shambles and it is understandable that I feel bad about that. And that is where the problem lies. The root cause of feeling un-understood.

It’s not man’s mind to tell someone who is feeling bad that it in fact really is bad. People want to help in words (but usually not in acts though) and that is nice but at the same time that help is in reality making things worse. Because words fade away quickly. And saying that things ain’t half that bad is at the same time saying that the true emotion of the other is not true but an exaggeration of their situation. Statements like that are just making clear that the depressed is not to be taken seriously.

Depression is a very personal pathological state of mind. Not to be taken lightly because it can be quite dangerous. Believe me, I know. Been there, done that, didn’t ‘succeed’. So it is not to be shoved aside easily. And to be perfectly honest, in my experience it’s only really understood by people who in their own life have experienced depression. They are the ones who do usually not try to lift the others mind with words without a body. Because one thing depressed people do is use their words to express the reality of their life carefully and mostly strongly. Words with bodies, no empty words. No empty lines. No walls in between feelings and expression. Like artists. Because emotions are in fact the only real things in life. The rest that you see, hear of say is artificial.

So please, dear friends, never ever try to comfort me when I feel bad. Just give me space. Allow me to feel how I feel, no matter what you might think of it. Some people are angels of darkness, accept them for what they are. Rest assured, I’ll fight my way out of it somehow. And the day I won’t be able to win is the day I will not survive. And that is not a loss but a victory. A victory I often long for. One day I will have vanished into the great nothing (Taoists or Pooh readers might understand this).

Alice © 2012

The Great Nothing according to Chuang-tse:

Consciousness wandered North to the land of Dark Waters and climbed the Unnoticeable Slope, where he met the Speechless Non-Doer.  “I have three questions for you,” Consciousness said.  “First, what thoughts and efforts will lead us to understanding the Tao?  Second, where must we go and what must we do to find peace in the Tao?  Third, from what point must we start and which road must we follow in order to reach the Tao?  Speechless Non-Doer gave him no answer.

Consciousness traveled South to the land of the Bright Ocean and climbed the mountain of Certainty, where he met the Impulsive Speech-Maker.  He asked him the same three questions.  “Here are the answers,” Impulsive Speech-Maker replied.  But as soon as he started to speak, he became confused and forgot what he was talking about.