It is safe to say that my suicide attempt and the subsequent fallout have done a lot to change my perspective on myself and my gender identity, and the weeks since then have propelled me further along my path of transition. I’ve let go of the past, I’ve allowed myself to move on in the present, and I no longer fear the future.
One of the weird things about this whole experience is how it’s changing my likes and interests. Or, perhaps more accurately, how it is forcing me to re-learn how I express my likes and interests. In short: I’m not at all sure what I like and don’t like anymore.
For example, when I had to furnish a new apartment quickly, I relied on a lot of charity from friends and family for things like furniture. For the rest, I went to the local IKEA, where I knew I could find things like $10 end-tables, $8 table lamps, and decent $5 bath towels. But as I walked through the store, I quickly realized that I had no idea what to get in terms of color or style. I wasn’t sure what I liked anymore.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I knew that I liked the color purple, in all of its shades. Purple’s a color I’ve liked all my life, but never really did much with it — men’s clothes rarely come in shades of purple, and none of the rooms in my house had a purple color scheme, so there’s never been much chance to explore it. But now I was in a store, shopping for myself, and purple was all I had to go on.
I felt like a child. “Hi, my name’s Ali, and I like purple!” But honestly, that’s how it has all felt lately: like I’m a three-year-old discovering things about myself. I don’t know much else about me anymore. I like purple, I like having painted nails, I have developed a sudden interest in making stretch bracelets (seriously, bead buying, it’s like an addiction), I have an attraction to water themes — not beaches and seashells and lighthouses, but water itself, like an elemental thing, like being submerged. These are all developments that have only happened in the last few months. They’re new to me, but important. They’re a part of me.
The downside to this is that I also have trouble mustering interest in some things I used to love. Just this weekend I was out with some of my old friends — both guys, they don’t know a thing about my transgender status — and we were scouring the used stores for old videogames. And I found myself annoyed by the whole outing. I still like videogames, I suppose, but there’s nothing I really want to play, and I just couldn’t muster enthusiasm for the hunt. Half the time my mind was on what I was going to do when I got home that night — string a bracelet for my daughter, get some writing done, paint my nails.
So that’s how I guided myself in the IKEA, and how I’ve guided myself for these last few weeks. Go on instinct. Look for the purple first, see what else catches my eye, see where that leads me. And slowly, that’s leading me to a deeper understanding of what I like now … of what I am now. Scents, colors, patterns, themes, arrangements — I’m learning myself all over again.
Hi, I’m Ali, nice to meet me.