Writing On The Wall: Alone With My Image


Words | Anonymous

I am a nonbinary MQU undergrad. This pandemic is doing a number on my life. My retail employer laid me off with nothing but my last three timesheets and a link on how to apply for Centrelink benefits. Two of my online classes were reduced to “do whatever you want, as long as you submit the assessments on time.” I refrain from eating more than one meal a day, so my family won’t run out of groceries as quickly. I am applying for jobs left and right to get my cash flow going. I also have insurance to pay for, so I have stable expenses but an unstable income.

What has COVID-19 got to do with my gender identity? Sheltering in place means I’m alone with my thoughts and also my body. 

“My hair is getting shaggy, better trim it soon.”

“I should get in shape so I’m not too overweight for surgery.”

“Should I do sex work while I still have boobs?”

“What if I change my skincare routine?”

“I haven’t worn a bra in a week.”

“I’m too damn short.”

“Why are my feet always cold?”

“Have I always been this bad at keeping in touch with people?”

“I slouch all the time because proper posture makes me more aware of my chest.”

“I have the body of an adult woman but the voice of a post-pubescent boy, therefore I am undesirable.”

In short, I no longer have things to distract me from the fact that my body causes a dull and persistent ache in my soul. All my life, I’ve treated my body as a vehicle to transport my mind. It’s how I’ve coped with my dysphoria. I don’t want to do that anymore. Not when I finally love myself enough that I want to create a better relationship with my body.

I lie awake every night fretting about every cent in my account. I have just under a year to save up at least 12 grand but considering my financial situation, how can I be so sure I can make it? My savings are around the halfway mark, but it took me about two years to get there. How will my family and I cope when the day comes and we don’t have enough money to pay the fees?

I try to open up about this to my family, but I don’t think they know how to help me. I don’t know how I want to be helped either. I don’t expect solutions from them, just the assurance that they’ll be there for me, rather than reverting to trying to fix things. Or worse, they shift the focus to those less fortunate than us so I can shut up about my problems and no one will have to think about it. I don’t want to discredit those in rougher situations than me. We are all trying our best to survive, and I respect how everyone is coping.

I just want them to understand that I’m really not okay. That it’ll take a while for me to be okay. They don’t have to fix me; they just have to continue loving me like they usually do. Even if I can’t show that I love them back.