We all have those tapes that play through our heads. These are the messages that we hear when we are faced with different situations. These are tapes that have been recorded over the years and different experiences that we have come across. Fire is hot, don’t touch. Chocolate is good, must eat. Many of these tapes are very helpful and even essential for us to get through our daily lives. The issue comes in when we have tapes that are not as altruistic as the other. These Bad tapes are the ones that tell us that we are not pretty enough, not thin enough, are too thin, not worthy of love just to name a few. These tapes too were recorded over years of messages that we were both told and reinforced by repeating them to ourselves.
I am no exception to these tapes. Some days I feel that I have more then my fair share. I am an out and proud Trans woman. I make little to no excuses or apologies for this fact. If you were to meet me in person you might see why. I stand six foot pulse feet tall, have multicolored hair and weigh north of 250 lbs. It say that I do not blend into a crowd might be an understatement. I am becoming more and more comfortable in my beautiful trans skin everyday. This does not mean that these tapes do not still gut me whenever they play through my head.
There is not a day that doesn’t go by that I have to force myself to try and stop them. These tapes tell me that I am not woman enough, I am not valid enough, I am a fraud. Those are just the collections of bad tapes that I have around my gender. There are also the bad tapes I have around love and relationships. These tell me that I am not lovable, that I am far too broken for anyone to even bother with, and that those who are in my life are just too kind to tell me that they are really sick of me and are just looking for the right time to leave. So yes, I understand bad tape.
Now that we have identified what these tapes are what the fuck do we do with it? The biggest thing I can say is that we need to critically look at the messages that they are telling us. We need to find out where we heard these messages and where they were recorded. This means we have to do some very heavy emotional lifting. I am sorry my sweet starlings, this is not going to be easy or fun for the most part. Fuck it! This is going to downright suck for most of it. I am sorry but I will never lie to any of you. This is just a hard truth.
There can be a silver lining for many of us though. There are people out there who are more than willing to help you though these tapes. These people can be trusted friends, safe family members or even therapists. I have used two of the three of that list to start to work on my “fuckery playlist” as I have come to call it. I am lucky enough to have friends and partners that are willing to help me work through these messages. This was shown when I had a case of ambush dysphoria the other night and my partner all but read me the riot act for allowing these tapes to play at full volume. (Sometime I need that tough love.) Another time I was talking to a dear friend about how the tape that was playing through my head about not being lovable et al. They loved me enough to simply tell me, “Lilith, chill the fuck out and know it the fuck off. You are loved and worthy of love.”
I know that not everyone has people in their lives that they can turn to. This is where a trauma trained and compassionate therapist can value their weight in whatever their fee is. I have had the opportunity to work with both ends of the spectrum of therapists. I have seen ones that have been amazing then I have seen ones that I left thinking, “fuck I did more their mental health then they did for mine.” I will pass this word of advice when you are looking for a therapist. PLEASE feel free to not be committed one after one meeting. Think of it like dating (stick with me here). Just because you went on one date with a person, it does not mean that you are committed to them for the rest of your life. The same goes with therapists. If you see a therapist a few times and it just doesn’t seem like it is working for a number of reasons, do not feel bad about moving on. A word of caution though, PLEASE DO NOT leave a shrink just because they are making you face the things that are hard to look at. I have done this and I am not proud of that fact. Now if they are not respecting boundaries and pushing you far to hard or far to much further then you are truly ready to go…RUN BITCH RUN! 😉
There is a universal silver lining here my sweet starlings. That is that you learned these messages that are on these tapes so that means that you can unlearn them too. Ok it will suck. I said that before and I will say it again. What I will add here is this simple and true fact. YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU EVEN KNOW!!!! You have made it this far. You have made it through some truly horrible shit in your life. You are a warrior even if you do not believe it. I know that for a fact and I will tell you that until I no longer have breath in my chest. You are stronger than you know, more brilliant than you think and more amazing then you will ever admit to yourself. That is why I am here my starlings, I will be your cheerleader when you need it. I will also be that highly polished boot in your ass when you need it. That is what we are here to do for each other.
I want you to walk away from these posts with the knowledge that you can do this if you want to. I know that you are scared and that is ok. I know that you most likely think that you can not do this and that is normal. I know all this is true because it is what I have seen in so many people throughout my life. Know that you can and will change what you want to change. Know that you can and will grow from all these trials that you will have to face to rewrite these bad tapes. Know that Lady Lylith always has your back and will always be cheering for you. Now go out there and do the thing. You got this my amazing starlings!