Some days, things don't go well. For any of us. It just happens. It doesn't have to be a huge thing, either. It can be a combination of little things that leaves you to desperately wanting to leave work early and have a beer with some friends, cry in a cubicle at work, or just comfort-eat and watch a movie that makes you feel good next to a heater.
The small things that trigger it can be anything - a bad sleep coupled with rain and a shitty trip to work. Someone snapping at you plus losing your wallet for a stressful hour. Spending hours doing the wrong thing at work without realising it and knowing it'll take you even more time to rectify your mistake.
The problem is that, while on balance my life is certainly better now, the bad days are more frequent.
Not because things are worse, but because there are more 'little' things that can trigger them. Someone misgendering me. The stress of going outside if worse than before, at least for now. I'm still getting used to cat-calling and shitty behaviour, and all it takes is one crass comment from some guy on the street and it can send me spiralling into insecurity for the rest of the day.
Reading an article saying the wrong thing and finding that my whole sense of self is being debated by people who've never experienced and never will experience dysphoria in their life.
One of the many times I find myself coping with the ton of body and sexual issues years of dysphoria and insecurity have left me with.
A bad interaction with some form of corporate or government bureaucracy having trouble with my name or gender changing in their system.
The number of relatively minor things that can turn my mood south with little warning seem to be much, much larger these days. Sometimes they don't even need to happen. Just thinking about the ton of bullshit or even really scary, expensive medical things in my future just to keep moving past all this is too much and I curl up on my couch and become a sobbing wreck until my face hurts and I need water because I'm dehydrated.
The one thing I always go back to when I have these days, like today, is to focus on the knowledge that in the long run they will get better.
The bureaucratic stuff will be done. I will continue to get better at dealing with my insecurities. Like every woman, I will gain more confidence and get used to what's the new "normal" for me about existing in public as a woman.
It can be hard to latch onto that. To find the hook to get myself really able to focus on the positive.
Especially when comforts fail me. It may sound strange, but one of the things which vanished entirely for me when I accepted being trans was that the majority of the books and films that used to be my go-to bad-mood media stopped working. This is for personal reasons, of course - I used to find, when I was at my most sad, lonely or dysphoric, I'd watch media that depicted happy relationships between men, usually in tough circumstances. Or films that dissected masculinity. Because often, when I felt bad, what was going on was that I was having one of my frequent moments of difficulty functioning as an 'adult male'.
That media usually remains of vague interest to me now, but it doesn't help me.
My cinematic comfort-food is gone.
What were once my favourite films now seem as foreign and hard for me to relate to as a geology paper when what I really need is a poem.
So I watch more movies, slowly finding more stories I can try to relate to in some way or other. That's tough, though. Most of us can emotionally connect with a huge variety of protagonists - they don't need to reflect us perfectly. But our comfort viewing is often something that tells a story we really click with.
Those stories are tougher to come by when you're, say, a trans lesbian.
Not many protagonists are lesbians. Even fewer are trans - and often the stories aren't really about them, anyway, and they're played by cis people which makes it feel even tougher to really believe what you're seeing.
And that's before we get to whether or not emotionally I feel I can connect with their ~specific~ story. Just because a character is trans and/or a lesbian, doesn't mean I can relate to her, any more than every white, heterosexual cis guy can relate to every similar film protagonist who shares these specific traits. So I usually have to make do with movies focusing on female relationships with heavily queer undertones. Or movies unrelated to any of that which just make me laugh. It's not like I'm suddenly incapable of related to people who aren't Me With A Different Name... but some days it'd be nice to feel a little closer more of the people who are the Good Guys in their own narratives.
If you're a white, heterosexual cis guy, you have a huge variety of stories and it's likely many of them have protagonists you can relate to - whether you're an outcast loner in a leather jacket or a book nerd anything else, you're likely to be covered.
They can find their stories.
It's harder now.
The bad days, like today, are tougher to bookend with something nice.
But there's always something, if I look hard enough. It may take me hours and cost me litres of tears, but there'll be something for me to latch onto.
A nice message from a friend who has no idea you're having a tough day.
Evidence that some further part of your ongoing bureaucratic and medical odysseys are reaching something close to a conclusion.
I just need to get better at finding them.