A Material Girl in a Material World
Sometimes I like straying away from topics about FOSS, software, programming, IT, you name it… and talk about more personal things instead. This isn’t the first time, it won’t be the last either, but when I write one of these I do like putting this disclaimer of sorts… just in case. Because sometimes these posts get messy, hit some hard rock… and sometimes touch very sensitive matters. You be warned.
I can’t believe myself saying this outloud, but I’m not in the best shape… spiritually speaking. And before we move forward, I must stress this out: spiritually. Mental health, in my opinion, is a different aspect of life, linked to spiritual well-being, but not the same. Mental health, as I see it (and I’m not a psychologist) is about taking care of our thought and emotional processes… Spiritual well-being is about taking care of our sense of purpose in life. Obviously linked, and also linked to physical health… yet not the same.
Again, I’m not an expert. The paragraph above might be utterly wrong… but it’s the way I understand these concepts.
2019 was one of the worst years of my life. Yep, that’s not a typo: 2019; not the dreaded 2020. In 2019 I collapsed due to addiction, debt, lots and lots and lots of bad decisions… well… I went through hell. Literal hell. I became homeless, I was sheltered by good friends, but this stressed out my friendships up to the point of breaking… I was empty. I was broken in a million pieces. I hated who I was, I didn’t want to take any steps towards healing… I literally wanted to be dead.
2020 was a bit “gentler…” Lockdown helped me to find some peace within myself, but I wasn’t ready for what I was about to face. I rested a bit… but not enough. The second half of 2020 saw me trying to glue the pieces together and, even if I was homeless again, stealing food from hostals, trying to survive until I got help… I had a goal: making my gender transition possible, for once and for all… It was my fourth attempt; the first time though that I had the courage to really undertake it because I had no choice.1
Girl… I wrote all of the above in one single take… Breathe. Exhale. Ariadna, you can do this…
Late 2020 and early 2021 became a very stressful race to “get things done.” That meant me buying almost every single piece of clothing I needed, make-up, everything. Fortunately I knew precisely what I could wear beforehand, so I didn’t invest too much money and time in stuff that didn’t suit me. I had a job, was fired, went through lots of hardships again (but at least with a roof over my head now…), until I was hired into my current job… and I could go on with my life and transition. I also got into getting lots of paperwork done so I could get into HRT and other health services provided by public healthcare.
I’ve already posted about how my mind took months to get used to the fact that I was no longer in danger. I got better… but then…
But towards early summer this year, something happened. I started feeling empty again. I also felt I needed a change of gears… Yeah, I love my job, things were back to normal, I was feeling accepted in my city, I was shaping my own views on things that affect me, I was back to blogging, writing code… but something was missing… I felt I had fallen into an energy-draining routine and I didn’t know why that was. New nice clothes? Lovely… My job? Great… My code? Wow, I wrote a VT-100 driver, but… Is that it? All my days seemed the same.
Not getting into any details, I collapsed again some weeks ago. I felt weaker and weaker, I felt offended by every single thing, I thought I was literally losing my mind…
So, one day, not sure why, I walked into a church.
I was looking for peace. Churches are places where you breathe peace. People there are reaching for it, for themselves or their beloved. And suddenly I found myself praying… like I did when I was a child.
Religion… I was born into a Catholic family; religion was used in my family as weapon to supress my identity… and I must say I also used it to supress it myself… and suddenly there I was… claiming the spiritual back for myself… on my own terms.
For the first time in my life.
When I walked out I felt even more conflicted… but I had reconnected to something I had in me and was… supressing because I told myself the lie that spirituality wasn’t meant for me.
There I understood my emptiness. And I don’t regret any steps of my path… My path had to be like that… but I saw why I was feeling depleted: I was very effective in solving my material needs… but neglected my spiritual needs. I was quick to buy this and that piece of clothing, but I hadn’t asked myself the big questions.
To say it bluntly: My transition was totally self-centered… that’s not bad… I mean, of course, transition is about changing yourself… but… but… I was closing the doors to connecting to anyone else, to be of service, to really care about others…
Now I see it very clearly? I’ve never loved in my life. I’ve always been protecting myself from pain and fear. That shuts down your ability to love. It’s the definition of Hell itself, if you allow me a small hint of Catholic theology.
I’ll keep exploring this path. I highly doubt I’ll be attending Mass or anything like that. I’m not even sure if I believe in God… all I know it’s that certain meditation/prayer techniques, certain ideas have helped me to feel I’m part of something bigger than myself.
And… let’s be honest… I believe all human spirituality comes from the same basic principles. If I’m holding to this “version” is mainly because it’s the one I’m familiar with. I know people close to me who have found great things in other traditions… and that’s awesome. Whatever makes you connect with that “thing” we can’t explain, if it makes you happy, I’m happy with you ☺️
If you’re queer, please don’t follow my steps. I was super irresponsible with my own self. Come out when you’re safe 🏳️🌈 ↩︎