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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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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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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Dark Times

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.

Every now and again, I suffer from something that I like to refer to as a dark time. I believe that it may be a form of depression. However, I do not refer to it as such because it never lasts very long. These dark times began when I fell in love and lost my friends. This was a horrible time for me. I suffered greatly with these losses and the result was a new, darker mind. However, I never ran from this pain, I confronted it head on. When I couldn’t sleep because I was overthinking, I read my books. When I wanted to lock myself in my room, I listened to sad music. When I spent the day in bed I would watch movies that I loved. I would do what I needed to get through a day, telling myself that it was temporary. I would call my friends if I needed to talk. Turn my phone off if I needed to be alone.  I would write in my journals as much as possible. I would look at old pictures and think about what I had lost. Watch YouTube videos of my idols. Go out and get coffee alone. Spend all of my money on sweets, diet coke and magazines. Take long, hot showers and baths. Read articles online about pain and loss.

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Selfishness

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 believe that people have the wrong idea about selfishness. They think that it’s a sin to be selfish when it’s exactly how you should be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advising that you don’t consider everyone around you because you care about yourself more, or to put your priorities ahead of everyone else’s. All I suggest is that you put your priorities on a par with those of other people. You are important. You are worth your own time. So you should treat yourself as such. Don’t let people convince you that it’s wrong to want the best for yourself. Don’t let them tell you that you shouldn’t prevent yourself from getting hurt. That you shouldn’t follow your dreams or treat yourself with the utmost respect. That you shouldn’t occasionally make decisions that no one in your life agrees with or that you shouldn’t be slightly vain. For some reason society likes to teach us that these things are wrong and we usually listen.

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Doubt.

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.

In life, amongst other things, we have to battle two forms of doubt. The doubt that we have in our minds and the doubt that others have. Each is cruel. Each is horrible. I’m sorry. I wish you didn’t have to deal with these. I wish I didn’t have to deal with these. Are these two forms of doubt related? Of course. They walk hand in hand with one another. Other people’s doubt can make your doubt stronger and more relentless. The less self-doubt you have, the less other people’s doubts affect you.

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About Stay Wild.

One thing that I’m definitely learning (please note the use of the present tense) with great difficulty is how necessary it can be to make sacrifices. Throughout the course of writing these essays I’ve experienced many health difficulties, both physical and mental, relating to my hormones.

Now that LaylahTalks has taken off a bit more, I feel that bit more pressure to be okay. I feel the need to end every essay about harassment that I’ve experienced or mental problems that I’ve been suffering from with a positive message. And don’t get me wrong, putting a positive spin on things comes very naturally to me and I can definitely see the light in the midst of trepidation, but I’m going through a hard time and I don’t want to sugar coat that.

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I’ve Learned When To Shut Up.

It might be somewhat ironic for me to write an essay entitled “I’ve learned when to shut up” when I never actually seem to shut up but stick with me. I don’t make comments on people’s appearances, or at least I try really, really hard not to. That’s it. I’m not trying to convince you to copy me or to suggest that this makes me any happier or better or more easy-going than you. In fact I don’t really feel the need to broadcast this fact very often. I don’t take some moral high ground when it comes to personal comments, I just try not to make them.

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I’m Strong Even if I Breakdown.

This event occurred last week, but I wrote about it straight away. Hence when I refer to these occurrences as yesterday, last night etc. I’m actually referring to a week ago.

In the past I wouldn’t have spoken about stuff like this, believing that it makes me seem somehow weak if I confide my darkest moments in such a public way, but I’m learning not to think this way. Because to be honest, I don’t think I could really be weak if I tried to be. It’s time to own my darkest moments as just what they are, mere moments in this array of experiences that is my life.

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Nice Things That Have Happened to me Recently.

I’m an awful moan aren’t I? Recently I’ve noticed that my writing has become a bit more serious, and that’s been a very necessary thing. I’m becoming more and more honest about negative experiences and that’s probably been very beneficial for certain people. But let’s take a little break from that so I can share some of the positive experiences I’ve had in recent times.

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Loving Myself

I feel like “loving yourself” is such an overused phrase these days. People constantly post about it on social media and advise others to learn how to do it. But how many people do you know who actually genuinely love themselves?

I believe that we are all born loving ourselves, and we learn to dislike ourselves as time goes on. I’m sure there are a number of reasons as to why this happens, society probably being the main one. As a child, I never really remember being encouraged to love myself. Or at least if I did I was encouraged to keep quiet about it.

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My Internal Monologue.

I’m probably a little bit too fond of my internal voice. As narcissistic as it sounds, I sometimes have to be careful that I’m still listen to the opinions and observations of other people because I enjoy my own mind so much.

As much as I love Bridget Jones, I would hate to be her. Having a voice inside your head constantly telling you that you’re doing things wrong must be torturous. I have issues around control, meaning that one of my biggest priorities is constantly keeping tabs on what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling. As exhausting as that can be, it means that my internal monologue is encouraging, forgiving, lighthearted and inspirational.

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One more week in the life (Part 2).

Read Part 1 here.

Thursday. We awake early to catch our train back to Dublin. I’m somewhat sad to be leaving Sligo but I’m also looking forward to getting back home and taking it easy for a while. Sarah’s Mam drives us to the train station and gives us brown bags with sandwiches and sweets. I thank the stars for this glorious woman and her hospitality. We seat ourselves on the train, eating our sandwiches, drinking cups of coffee and playing card games. The journey back seeme a lot quicker than the journey there did. Before I know it, I’m stepping off the train and saying goodbye to the others. Lugging my large bags, (I don’t know the meaning of travelling light) I hop on a Luas followed by a bus. When I arrive home, I sit and have a cup of coffee with my roommates before retreating to my room. Every ounce of my person wants to crawl under my duvet and never come out, but instead I unpack and repack my bag. I get another two buses to the hospital and collapse in a large chair beside my Gran’s bed. Gran takes one look at me and makes a sassy comment about having no sympathy for my exhaustion because I decided to go to the races. She smiles at me, making it clear that she’s joking but I’m delighted to see her sassing me again. There’s a definite spark returned and it’s so nice to see. Mam and I watch TV with her for a while before she falls asleep and we head off for the night. Both exhausted, we go straight to our temporary rooms in my Gran’s house and I am so glad to be in a warm cosy bed that I fall asleep almost immediately.

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