The black record of the new year's count has already begun after the Day of Remembrance, where we take a moment to remember those who have been slain by injustice. This is a somber day for transfolks, and it affects a wider part of the community than many realize, and every year I read blog posts by straight cisfolk and all shapes of transfolks, and I struggle to read a post by LGB cisfolk about their thoughts on attending the event.
It's a piece of the puzzle I miss.
And perhaps that piece is because people don't realize that while 3 of us are murdered each week, a third of us take our own lives.
And people don't always realize why.
I get into arguments over this. I get told I make it too scary, make it too harsh, too terrible, that its not always that bad, and while it isn't always that bad, a lot of the time, it is.
Take one thing you know you to be true. Now let's say you need to make it true of you to others. It doesn't matter what it is. It doesn't matter how big or little it is. Maybe it's the color of our hair. Or the car you drive. Or the fact you are gay or bisexual or trans. One thing. One absolute, inalienable truth, one thing that must be, and you know it, at the core of your heart.
Now, let everyone and everything in the world around you tell you it is not true.
The words you use and others use around and about you. The clothes you wear. The teachers at school, the schoolbooks themselves, the great philosophers and the enigmatic priests. The reflection in the mirror. Your doctor, your library, your police, your government, your entire world.
Your spouse, your partner, your best friend, your parents, your dog, your mailbox, your brothers, your sisters.
Everything. You can't even form a thought in your head to speak it or write it without having to rely on it because the very language you use is against you, telling you that this one singular truth you know absolutely and utterly and irrevocably is not true.
Got that? Everything.
Now, you know that everything about it is that way, and then somehow, you find out a way to make it happen so that it becomes a truth you can reveal.
Only in doing so, you have to give up everything you ever loved, ever valued, ever cherished, ever hoped for, ever dreamed about. Family and friends is part of it. Everything you ever did in your life - yep, that. Degrees, history, children, job, future.
That is the price. No chance that it won't happen, no hope for something better - this isn't coming out - that's something that's easy compared to this.
Now, with all of that, let's through in the absolute necessity that this truth must be shared.
Kinda has a sense of religion to it, doesn't it?
Something that one person knows, utterly and absolutely, without proof from anything around them, a truth that they must make known, make manifest, make visible and possible and probable.
That entirety of things, boiled down into one moment, one instant - that is the decision to transition as an adult. It's not much better as a kid. The decision to do that, with that price staring you in the face, that high and unimaginable degree of total uncertainty.
It can only be done with an act of faith.
Strength is what carries you through it, but strength gives out. Courage of the sort that allows blind uninformed leaps into the unknown when all the world is against you is called foolhardiness. Which, if you talk to people after witnessing a foolhardy act, is usually called just plain stupidity.
Obstinance is essential to it, but that's a form of strength in this measure, in this way, and all it does is carry you through the storm of actually losing things - hoping that maybe you'll keep this part and maybe you'll keep that part and hey, you got to have this, how awesome, so maybe you'll get to keep that only to find moments later you've lost it too.
None of them let you make that decision.
If you make that decision, you begin suffering. And that suffering is not merely the wide eyed kind you see in horror movies. It is the epic suffering that tears your soul out like the loss of a loved one, the slow and steady decay of things you have worked your whole life to achieve, something once sweet and joyous now dust and despair.
It is the stuff that takes you to your knees and drives you out of your mind and makes you question everything.
Much like some mad prophet.
There is great reward on the other side. If you make it. It Is a journey that no one can give you a compass rose for, merely point the way they took and hope for the best.
Many people forget these moments, these times, and offer merely condolences, simple gestures, when they hear of such. How can they know? How can they know what it feels like to have your own son tell you "I don't want to" when all that is being asked is just to see you? How can they know what it is to lose a company and job you've spent 20 hours a day on for 4 years?
How can they know what it is like to realize that your life was a lie and you helped to make it?
Suicide claims one in three who do know what that is like. And a large part of the reason is that it is crushingly hard, even when things seem to be going great, and nothing makes it worse, ever, anytime, than the holidays, when you sit there and look around you and everything that they represent to you has been taken from you.
The last time I tried to commit suicide was January 2007. My birthday was a few days away, I'd just gotten everything in my situation at the time arranged, was settling in for what I thought was going to be a long haul, and something happened. What is unimportant, but it was enough, and sent me into a point of despair that even to this day colors a part of my heart and leaves it cold and sometimes inert.
And I sat there, my knees buckled, my heart so sore I literally clawed at my chest to try and relieve the pain I was feeling, and I sobbed as I'd never sobbed before, and I lost my mind. Into my head came the strange and bizarre notion that I would get up, put my shoes on, calmly walk out of the apartment, and wait for a short time beside the very busy street just a few dozen yards away, and step at the last minute in front of a semi-trailer.
I could see it in my mind, the whole process. It was easy.
It was the right thing to do. I knew it, it rang in my head for several minutes, and so I started looking for my shoes.
There wasn't going to be a note. Notes never entered my head, and I'm not the sort to do that. There was no phone call to make - I as nuts, anyway, it wasn't going to occur to me even if there was a hotline I could turn to that would be able to even comprehend what I was going through (and, as a note, there still isn't a hotline for trans folks).
And so I sobbed and weeped and let out howls until my throat was raw and I crawled all around the tiny room I had searching for my shoes.
Never popped into my mind to load the shotgun I had in the closet with the shell I had in my drawer.
And it is not a stretch to sit here and write to you that the reason I am doing so is that I did not find my shoes until after I had passed out and awakened in a much more sane frame of reference.
Had I found them, I would have absolutely done it.
One in Three. One third. And there is no rhyme or reason to when - it could be before they start transition, it could be during it, it could be ten years after. The reasons, the triggers, the causes are all different, and often it isn't just trans stuff that does it.
Its that whole world against you that does it, and that one little straw that breaks the camel's back - the last thin little wafer before the explosion.
We'll likely never know why the death that reminded me of this happened.
But maybe some of ya'll now have an idea of why it happens so often.
And why once so many of do, we have a somewhat fanatical way about us...