An Empathetic Gesture.

The third time I went to A&E to insist that something was wrong with my mental state, I went alone. It was a Monday, I had spent the weekend sobbing feeling overwhelmed at the thought of leaving my bed and I’d had enough. I’d been accompanied the last two times I went to A&E and having other opinions in the mix made me ignore my instincts and back down from what I was certain that I needed-to be hospitalised.

I don’t know where that certainty arose from. I’d never known anyone who went to a psychiatric hospital before, but I knew I wouldn’t make it through if I tried to heal myself on my own.

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Am I a Victim or a Survivor?

I would definitely label myself a survivor, but sometimes it’s been to my own detriment. I saw it as my responsibility to overcome my obstacles that were in my way. I burdened myself with a need to handle different situations in a “correct” way.

It was really harmful to think this way and ultimately it lead me to burn out. By the time I arrived in the hospital, I had exhausted my defence mechanisms. I was completely vulnerable to anything and everything

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I Need Your Help

A common theme in my writing is the harassment I get on the street and through other experiences in my day-to-day life. I’ve never sugarcoated or been shy of talking about it. I hoped that doing this would help to improve things. I hoped it would make people think about their actions. But who am I kidding? None of those people are reading my writing.

This harassment has always come in waves. At different points in the year (sunny days, occasions for a lot of drinking) the harassment will get worse. At other points in the year, my days are relatively untouched by dickheads. But I’ve noticed something lately.

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Reasons I’m Not Grateful for my Mental Illness

It’s difficult to find any reason to be grateful for my mental illness. I could go on all day about shitty things that I have to put up with, but here are some things that people may not understand about the nature of both depression and anorexia. They don’t just make you sad and hungry. They affect almost every aspect of your life.

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A Letter to my Future Self.

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

Dear Laylah,

I am not going to open this letter by hoping that you’ve achieved everything that I wish you will, because that would be an insult to you. There’s no question as to whether you’ve reached for your dreams or not. But I do hope that you’ve found satisfaction through these achievements. I hope that you don’t have any empty voids or sources of shame that are unresolved.

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Getting Naked.

It’s been a year since “Exposition,” my first nude shoot was released. To celebrate this, here’s a collection off essays about the experience that were published in my third book “Stay Wild.”

The first time I remember being uncomfortable with my body I was 10. I don’t know if this was the beginning of my struggles with exposing my body, but it’s the first time I realised that what I was feeling mightn’t necessarily be normal.

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Reasons I’m Grateful for my Mental Illness.

There are so many reasons that I’m not grateful for my mental illness. I’ll be writing about those soon, but I thought I’d start with the positives. It’s snowing outside and I’m feeling cosy and I don’t want to have to think about the ways which I’ve suffered. Adversity brings good things with it. And being ill has definitely improved my character in a number of ways.

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My Reading List

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

I know. I’m talking about books again. You’re probably asking yourself whether I ever shut up about them. The answer is no, but I believe that I told you how entitled and annoying I can be in the opening of this book. I have a collection of books that I adore. I only started this collection about a year ago but it has grown a good bit since then. I’ve read a lot more books than the ones on this list but these are my favourites. I keep hard copies on a specific shelf in my room in my Mam’s house. I may have read these books in eBook form or borrowed them from a friend but they had such an impact on me that I would then buy my own hard copy to keep with me. I am including this list because I believe that I learned many things from each of these books and because they have impacted my own experiences and my own writing.

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I Have Low Self Esteem (Who Knew?)

I was participating in one of the therapeutic workshops that my life seems to consist of these days when we began discussing low self esteem. It came as quite a shock to me to realise that I suffer from it. You may scoff and think “Laylah Beattie? Low self esteem? Bitch where?” And I would have thought the same. But when I heard the details of this particular affliction, I realised that I really do fit the bill.

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Dear Parents

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

Hello parents. How are you? Tired? Angry? Too busy to talk? Who can blame you. Your job is difficult. Kids are horrible. Teenagers are worse. And then they just leave at the end of it all. Why does anyone do it? This chapter is about trying to give you an insight into the mind of your child and maybe giving you some tips on dealing with them. What’s that you ask? Why should you listen to me? Oh don’t worry, I have no doubt that you’ll completely ignore any of the things that you disagree with and that’s completely your right as a parent. But I am going to speak about some things that may relate to your teenager. They probably won’t because god knows, I was never your average teenager. But nevertheless, let me begin.

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A Modern World

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

There’s no denying that the world has changed an awful lot over time. Sometimes it’s unclear whether we should be grateful for all of this change or not. But as much as the world changes, it’s very apparent that there are sections of society that continue to not make sense and that refuse to change.

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Mourning my Twenties

I concluded my last collection of essays with a rather bleak ending. I’d just had my first hospitalisation because I was at the beginning of an extreme breakdown and I promised that by the next time you heard from me, I would have tried my best to recover.

I have many amazing childhood memories, but through therapy I’ve come to the realisation that I spent too much of my childhood thinking things that I really shouldn’t have. Issues about gender identity and extreme confusion that no child should have to deal with. In a way, I feel like I was robbed of the “normal” childhood experience.

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The Wild Life

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

I think that it’s so important to embrace and recognise your wild side as a part of you. I love the idea of a spontaneous life and try to put it into practice as much as I can. I genuinely think that I’ve managed pretty well so far. Wildness really only became important to me in the Winter of 2014, the time that I seem to have referred to many times throughout the course of this book. Up until this time I think I had been pretty wild. I’ve spoken about the numerous parties that I used to attend and the times that my friends and I would drink in fields, on the beach and in our local pub but after my heart was broken, I had a sudden desire to go completely wild. Thankfully I kept this desire somewhat under control because it had the potential to become really dangerous. Using alcohol to mask pain is no laughing matter and I understand that a lot more now than I did then.

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Building My Nest.

It was a couple of weekends into my stay at the psychiatric hospital when I was introduced to the concept of the wellness toolbox. It was described to me as a physical box which has a number of things in it that will bring you comfort in times of high emotion. It was suggested that it should be kept near your bed or somewhere that would be easily accessible to you in times of need.

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Rules of a Teenager

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

Recently, while sorting through my bedroom in my Mam’s house I found a tiny blue notebook that I had forgotten about. I suddenly remembered sitting down at my desk and writing it. I think I was about 15 when I did this. It was my “rule book.” It contained all of the lessons that I had learned over time and wished to put into practice. I was surprised to find that I still follow most of these rules as best I can. I only wrote 24 because I had very little discipline at the time. Or perhaps it was because I was only 15 and I didn’t know much about life or the way the world works. They are as follows:

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A Higher Power

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

I don’t mean to make you all cringe here but I do honestly believe that there is a higher power in this world. I don’t believe in a God that sits stroking his white beard and deciding how our days will unfold but I do think that we can manipulate this life to go our own way. I’m not religious at all but I don’t resent people who practice religion. As long as their religion isn’t criticising people’s lives, choices and natures. Unfortunately, the majority of religions seem to do this in some form or another. I would love it if we could all exist peacefully side by side doing our own thing and believing our own beliefs but that’s probably much too idealistic of me. A book that I believe everyone should study in school is The Secret. I know that people love to scoff at this book and disregard it as ridiculous but it actually makes some amazing points. We do control our lives with our thoughts and feelings and I’ve seen the law of attraction in effect on many occasions during my life. Some people can’t grasp it and maybe that will always be the way but you owe it to yourself to at least try to get everything that you could ever want.

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My Journals

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

Do I sound like a child mentioning my journals? Perhaps it is childish to keep one but I really, really couldn’t care less. I had originally intended to populate this chapter with phrases and sayings from my journals that are funny, inspirational, terrifying and devastating. But sitting here now with the open notebooks around me, I’m not ready to share them. They are my pride and joy. My soul and my charm. My biggest achievement and my delicious secret. I will not yet betray the fifteen-year-old me by laughing at his naivety or his bitchiness. I won’t share my sources of inspiration any more than I already have for fear that this book will turn you all into perfect human beings that I couldn’t possibly live up to. I won’t share my darkest, scariest thoughts because they are a part of me that I cannot discuss in a blasé fashion. I am not going to give heartbroken David a voice right now because I am finally in a good place and don’t wish to delve back into my past. I hope that my readers can respect that.

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Cruelty

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

One of the hardest things for me to accept is that there are bad people in this world. It disgusts me, terrifies me and shocks me to know that I, or the people that I love could come into contact with any one of these people at any time. A part of me is intrigued. How do these people become this way? Are they in any way redeemable? Can we solve these people’s problems? Were they born like this? I ask myself these questions every time I hear that someone’s been murdered. Or when I see online videos of people abusing animals. Or when I watch in horror as unspeakable acts of terrorism occur. Hearing these kind of things weighs on my soul. I wish I didn’t get so affected but at the same time, I don’t. I’m glad I feel so strongly about these things because that’s reality and although it’s important to lose touch with reality at times, it’s also important to pay close attention when reality becomes as horrific as this. The most recent example I can think of is the Paris attacks on the 13th of November 2015. I was alone in my apartment when I heard. I began to read article after article on what was happening. I couldn’t believe how horrific it was. I got extremely upset that night and went to make myself a hot chocolate. But nothing could remove the attacks from my soul. I sat in my dark room trying to fall asleep but unfortunately I couldn’t for a long time. I finally had a very disturbed sleep full of nightmares and worries for a few hours.

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Being Transgender.

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

I’ve mentioned it many times prior to this and now I’m going to discuss it fully. It’s rare that you will hear me go into such detail about this topic. However, it is a part of me and thus should be included in this book. I want to clarify that I am in no way ashamed or annoyed by the fact that I am trans. The reason that I do not talk about it a lot is because (believe it or not) it doesn’t actually come up in conversation that much and I don’t feel compelled to discuss it. I am transgender, but I’m also a writer, a feminist, a coffee-drinker, a dancer, a bookworm and many other things. Conversations with me aren’t ruled by the fact that I am transgender and it certainly doesn’t define who I am. Saying that, I have no problem discussing this fact with people and answering any questions that they may have. If you are talking to me and you have questions about my transition, then that’s fine. If you’re talking to me and you don’t have questions, that’s fine too. I won’t be offended that you’d rather discuss my career, my state of being or my skincare routine than my gender.

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Appreciating Yourself

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Who Cares? Life for an Irish Transgender Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in April 2016.

We learn to appreciate ourselves by acting in a way that makes us proud. I believe that the best way of doing this is by learning through other people’s experiences. Throughout my entire life, if there was a character in a movie or a book that I admired, I would pick my favourite aspects of their personality and adopt it into mine. If I looked up to traits that my friends or family possessed, I tried to also possess these traits. I don’t think that this is being fake, quite the opposite in fact. I think it’s being true to yourself to want to develop into a person that you admire. It takes courage to do things that you look up to in other people. To me, it’s quite noble to desire to be your best self.

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