5 Questions You Never Ask A Transgender Woman (And Their Answers!)

Fair warning Mom; I’m going to talk about my dick…

When I decided to catch up to the year 2002 and write a blog, I made a promise to myself to be as open and honest as possible no matter how raw or brutally honest it gets. So, at first, I wondered what I could talk about. The first thing that popped up in my mind was my crippling depression. The next was my experience as a transgender woman.

Before I begin. I want you to know that my experiences as a trans woman are mine alone. Believe it or not, us trans folk come in a variety of flavors; each flavor with their own upbringing, physical reactions to hormone replacement therapy, mental health (or lack thereof in my case), and support from family and friends. Each flavor their own: I like to believe I’m cinnamon ‘cause I’m spicy and go great with French toast.

For me, being trans has been educational; physically, emotionally, and socially. I’m here to talk about all three by answering questions people ask me all the time. As the title suggests, you should never (EVER!) ask a trans woman these questions. In fact, the answer to all the questions you read below should always be, “None of your goddamn business!” But I get it, you’re curious. Believe me, I understand curiosity. I do things all the time just to see what will happen (writing this article, for instance!). So, in the spirit of curiosity and education I’ll take some for the team. Just don’t ask anyone else. Don’t be a dick – Hey! Speaking of which –

1. DO YOU STILL HAVE A DICK?

I guess I should start with the question I get asked the most: “Do you still have a dick?” The question usually comes out as a more passive-aggressive “Have you had . . . y’know . . . (mouthing silently) the surgery yet?” But I know what you mean. You’re wondering if I’m still an eggplant or a donut. And, if I’m an eggplant, the next question is usually, “Okay . . . does it still . . . function correctly?” Which is a nice way of asking whether or not it can still get hard when aroused; or ejaculate.

Hold on while take this shot of Tequila before I answer:

tequila shot
Goes down like habanero-soaked sandpaper

Yes, I still have a dick – for now. Yes, it still works; but not like it used to.

First, let me give you some insight into my relationship with my dick. And this may be the hardest (ha!) thing to describe in the article. To be honest, I should have waited until I was about 3 shots of tequila in before I tackled this. Some trans women hate their dicks. They can’t stand them. Their dicks are like a growth that needs to be removed. It’s called “Gender Dysphoria”. Dysphoria can be mental or physical. There have been slews of books written about it so you’ll have to do your own homework about the different types and how it affects different people, but basically it’s the distress a person suffers when their gender identity doesn’t match their physical bodies. It’s a perfectly normal and valid feeling that trans women have with their dicks – and balls for that matter.

I don’t necessarily have dysphoria over my dick (my breasts and face are another matter). In fact, I don’t really mind my dick; but, at the same time, if the opportunity came up to chop that sucker off (not even close to how that surgery works, by the way), I would. I’ll totally journal and publish my experience of the surgery and the recovery if anyone wants to finance it! 🙂

So yes, I still have my dick. It works just fine too! It even gets hard when I’m horny, although not as hard as it used to. And it doesn’t get hard for no reason any more. Most people who transition later in life tend to regret not doing it earlier, but I see it as a unique experience. Think about it. I grew up and went through puberty with all the parts of a male. Then I transitioned and experienced another puberty as a girl. Two horrible, acne-laden, puberties for the price of several cars! Therefore, I have this amazing perspective about life and what it means to be male and female.

Getting back to hard dicks: hey cis gals, did you know that dicks can get hard for no reason? You’re sitting there at work, wondering whether a chimichanga is just a fried burrito, or perhaps something more . . . then wham! – your dick fills up; hard. For cis guys it’s a normal Tuesday. It doesn’t mean they want to fuck a chimichanga (some of them anyway), it just happens. That doesn’t happen with me anymore. My dick can get hard (raging even!), but I have to be sexually aroused for it to happen. I don’t know why. I’m not here to lecture, just to give my experience. Anything more would be premature. Hey! Speaking of which –

Ejacualation.

What happens there, you ask? If you imagine ejaculation like an erupting volcano; try to imagine the lava slowly seeping out the sides; maybe a tiny pop of lava every now and then. That’s me! And that’s if there’s any seeping at all! Sometimes nothing comes out.

But the orgasms . . .

Ho – Lee – Shit. You guys, orgasms are amazing! Before I transitioned, it was a one-and-done deal. I orgasmed, it was explosive, then it was gone. Now . . . I can’t even describe it. It’s more like a shockwave that won’t stop. It starts small, then progressively gets bigger and bigger until I’m screaming for it to stop, yet begging for more. Wave after wave of pure pleasure that lasts as long as Extra Sugar-Free Gum. My orgasms also changed my mental state as well. Before transition, I orgasmed, then I was done. All I could think about was going to bed. Now, after orgasm, I want nothing more than to hug and cuddle. Weird.

I’m repeating myself at this point, but remember, these experiences are mine and mine alone. You can’t apply anything I say here to another transgender women. In many ways, it makes these questions moot. The only answer you get applies specifically to that person. I’d be lying if I said anything otherwise. And I’m a horrible liar; just ask my girlfriend.

“Wait? Girlfriend?” you ask, “So –

2. DOES THAT MEAN YOU’RE GAY? OR STRAIGHT? WHAT THE HELL’S GOING ON THERE?

It seems like a logical question at first doesn’t it? I mean, when you think about the community, you always think of those wonderful letters: LGBT, then later LGBTQ, and now LGBTQA! If you think that gets confusing, try being a part of it! There’s several arguments within the community over what the hell it means to be LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, QUEER, or ASEXUAL; or, what should be included or excluded.

But hey! Did you notice that most of those labels have to do with sexual orientation? Except one: Transgender. Yes! Being trans has nothing to do with sexual orientation. If someone is trans they can also be straight, or gay, or bi.

Jesus Christ, are you still confused? Okay, shot number 2 coming up:

 

shot2
one, two, shuckle my boo

I get the confusion, I really do. I was a transgender child growing up in Rural America during the 80’s and 90’s (there’s a fucking book right there), so I didn’t know what the hell was going on with my body, or what I preferred sexually. I thought they might be related so I assumed they belonged in the same category; just like most of you.

By my teenage years, I was fully aware that I liked both sexes; I dug girls as well as guys. But here’s the kicker, I was also fully aware that I definitely shouldn’t have been a born male. So, of course, in my stupid little teenage brain, I thought that I wanted to be female because I had an attraction to guys. You see? Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity seem like they should be related, especially when you’re going through discoveries of both during your pubescent years.

Think of it like this: what type of soda person are you? Are you a smart, reasonable Coke person? A filthy, disgusting Pepsi person? An extreme, awesome Mountain Dew person still stuck in the 90’s? C’mon answer; answer out loud, no one’s going to care. Now, what color are your eyes? Are they blue? Green? Shit-brown like mine? (check the picture above). Well there you go. What does your preference of soda have to do with your eye color? FUCKING NOTHING! And that’s the point. Hell, if you think you’d be more comfortable with blue eyes instead of shit-brown eyes, you can even change them! Yeah, metaphors are fucking brilliant when you’re 2 shots in of tequila!

Okay, you say, I finally get it: you are Transgender; but, separately, you are also Bisexual: got it!

Actually, I’m Pansexual . . .

What’s Pansexual, you ask? What? Oh, you thought this section was over? You sit right back down and strap the fuck in (here, I’ll help!) because we are not even close to done! I haven’t even gotten to the “Umbrella Terms” yet.

“Umbrella Terms?”, you ask.

Imagine an opened umbrella. At the top, where the little point is, there appears a word. Let’s say the word is, “BISEXUAL”. Under the umbrella are all the terms, preferences, and orientations relating to the the word “BISEXUAL”: you got Pansexual, you got Polysexual, Mono-Poly, Queer, Fluid, Homoflexible/Lesbiflexible, Heteroflexible, Be-curios, Polyomnival, Omnisexual, etc. And all of those are just under the “BISEXUAL” label. TRANSGENDER has its own umbrella too! As does GAY, and LESBIAN, and others.

Holy shit, you say, how the hell can I keep up?!

That’s just it, you can’t. I know I can’t, and I’m in the community! But don’t fret about it. I get it. You have a job and a busy life, there’s no way you can keep up with all these terms all the time. The terms change too; so it’s a losing battle. I’ll take this time to remind you that this is my opinion and my perspective. There are some in the community that think everyone should know every term; I simply disagree. And for those pretentious members of the community nodding furiously at my umbrella list up there screaming, “Yeah! Everyone should learn these terms!” Calm the fuck down: two of the terms don’t even belong: One of them I made up, and the other is a goddamn board game.

Look, you’re a nice person, I know you are. And you want to try your best. So, I’ll give you the keys to understanding everything right now –

  1. Do your research (when you have time).
  2. Don’t. Be. An. Asshole.

The world is made up so many people. When you think about it, it’s kind of impossible to ask 7 billion people or so to adhere to a very specific, very recent, and very authoritarian way of living in regards to sexual orientation – and love.

And if you ever accidentally misgender someone, or use the wrong term they prefer, just say, “I’m sorry.” and move on. It’s okay. I’ve been struggling with all this since I was young. It’s why I didn’t come out into my early 30’s.

“Oh! That reminds me,” you say –

3. WHAT NAME DID YOU GO BY/WHAT DID YOU LOOK LIKE BEFORE YOUR TRANSITION?

Uh . . .

 

 

 

 

shot3
ooh! Oreos!

 

 

You basterds are so fucking nosy! And you know what? I’m going to do it. I’m going to show you pictures and let you in on my name. Why? Because a promise is a promise!

First, I can’t repeat myself enough: DO NOT ASK THIS TO A TRANSGENDER PERSON AT ALL. Out of all the questions, this might be the one that most people are curious about, yet the most they have the least business knowing.

Imagine there’s this deformation where a small percentage of the population are born with an elephant’s trunk protruding from their forehead. Wait, that’s stupid (I’m starting to feel the tequilas). Imagine a deformation where a small percentage of the population are born with an elephant’s trunk protruding from their chest (much better!). Imagine you have this deformation, so you go through the necessary, and expensive, steps to remove it. Yet because of the scar it left, or perhaps the way it changed the way you walk, or maybe you’re okay talking about it in the spirit of education; whatever the reason, you’re going to have people come up to you saying, “You’re an ‘Elphie’! No way! What did you look like before!” You spent all the time, money, and effort to forget about that ugly thing and all people want to do is see pictures of it. And most of these people aren’t being malicious. Well, they are; they just don’t know it.

Here’s the point. You are curious; and curiosity is a very strong impulse. But there comes a time in your life where you have to wonder where curiosity ends and ignorance begins; or whether curiosity matters or not. I’m not daring you to look at the pictures, I’m asking whether looking at the pictures even matters; in the grand scheme of things anyway. It shouldn’t matter. I am not those pictures anymore (the before ones anyway). I am Kiko; here and now. I want nothing to do with those pictures anymore.

So why do I keep them? Good question. I don’t know. Many trans women don’t. They delete everything from the past that they can. I can’t do it; for some reason.

If you do look at the pictures, I won’t judge you. I can’t judge you. So here they are; some before and afters:

 

 

 

beforeafter1

beforeafter3

beforeafter2

 

 

Are you happy now? Intrigued? Satisfied? Feeling guilty?

On to my name.

My name is Kiko. It always was really. I’ve been called Kiko since I was born. So, as far as I’m concerned, that’s always been my name. I had a legal name, but since that never really came into my life aside from signing legal documents, I see no need to tell you. Besides, saying the name would give it some underserved power.

Why “Kiko”? Shit, I don’t know. I’ve met more dogs named “Kiko” than humans. But it’s unique and I just can’t say no to it.

Identity is something us trans folk deal with on a daily basis. “What’s in a name?”, “What do I look like today?”, “Do I look . . . normal?”. When you’ve grown (or are growing) in a body that your mind doesn’t agree with, it can fuck you up. I remember having this argument with a customer one day back when I worked at a convenient store. She said, “My son wanted to be a dog last week. Should we consider surgery?”  Very funny lady. It’s hard to relate when you’re not transgender. Think of it this way: how many kids do you know commit suicide because they can’t be a dog?

Personally, I prefer the past to stay there. I’ve worked so hard to keep it that way. Except today anyway. I feel almost as if I’m coming out all over again in a way.

“Again?” you ask. “Oh that reminds me” –

4. WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME TRANSGENDER?

Same time you decided not to be transgender, you asshole. Oh, you didn’t decide not to become transgender? Look, I know I may be talking in circles, but think of it like this: I have always known. I knew I should have been born a girl since I was little. It’s my earliest memory.

Imagine a little boy, 3-years-old, lying in bed at night. His mother has already tucked him in. The boy stares at his bedroom ceiling engulfed in darkness, unblinking. The little boy has his hands together; praying. Praying to God that he wakes up as a girl in the morning. The Dysphoria is so strong at this point in his young life, the anguish has reached a point of physical and mental exhaustion – again, to a 3-year-old. To this boy, God can to anything, and God loves him. To this boy (especially in the 1980s), this is the only way he knows how his mind can finally be at ease. The only way his body can match her mind. He’s so embarrassed he dares not say it out loud.

He talks to God in his mind, begging to be a girl in the morning, then whispers, interrupting the dark, “Please . . .”

Tears stream down his cheeks; his lips quiver, “Please. . . “

He cries himself to sleep, “Please . . . “

Now, imagine going through this ritual, every fucking night, for years. Hold on a sec –

 

shot4
things are funny!!!!

 

It was never a “decision”; I never “decided”. I’ve never met any trans woman who did. It doesn’t mean they don’t exist; again, these are my experiences. But I don’t know anyone who would voluntarily go through this torment. I wouldn’t wish it on my biggest enemy- maybe Caleb Bradham.

Okay, so maybe you didn’t mean “decide”. Maybe you meant, “When did you first embark on this gender journey?” That’s much more elegant, and still none of your goddamn business . . .

The answer isn’t simple. I could tell you when I first started experimenting with clothes: I stole from my sister growing up (sorry Sis!). I could tell you the first time I started trying out makeup: I stole from my Mom (sorry Mom!). I could tell you the first time I met up with someone because they wanted to “fuck a tranny”: it was not a lunch date. It’s not a simple answer. There’s all sorts of “firsts” when a woman transitions: there’s Medical Transition, Social Transition, Mental Transition, Physical Transition, etc, etc. Many trans woman have different times they designate as their “beginning”.

For me, I just count the first time I took hormones: February of 2015. Nothing special really. I took pills, I was happy, months later, boobs popped up (smaller ones than I’d like).

The beginning is always a touchy subject for many trans women. It can bring memories of horrible times they’d like to forget. I hate the past. I like to focus on the future and all the wonderful things in store for me.

“The future,” you say. “So – “

5. WHEN WILL YOU BE FINISHED TRANSITIONING?

I’ll make it simple: there is no end. Not for me anyway.

I know several trans women who, as far as they’re concerned, are done. They are finally complete: they are satisfied. That’s such a wonderful thing to hear. I love that. I’m also insanely envious. I don’t think I’ll ever feel that way; at least, I don’t see that feeling coming in the near future. Maybe surgery can help, I don’t know.

Here’s the thing: dysphoria is such a strong feeling. And I’ve had it for so long that I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied. I don’t think I’ll ever look in the mirror and finally be content.

It’s not like I stick out like a sore thumb or anything. Most people I meet nowadays don’t even know I’m trans. I’ve had so much laser hair removal, voice training, hormone replacement therapy, weight loss, makeup skills; I just fit in. Yet, it’s not enough. And if anyone I’ve recently met has stumbled their way to my blog . . .Hi there! Surprised Motherfucker?!

But I could say the same about you. I mean, if you’re a woman, have you ever seen another woman and think, that’s a real woman. Maybe you saw her give an amazing speech. Maybe you saw how she helped the needy. Maybe you saw how she was so nice and forgiving. Same goes for you men. We all have standards of what makes a real woman or man; and maybe we aren’t there yet, not all of us anyway. Myself included.

But it doesn’t mean we can’t get there! If you want to be the woman or man you strive to be, then start doing something about it. Make the necessary baby steps and take hold of your life and be the most amazing person you strive to be. As long as you do a little today, then it’s that much more you did yesterday.

We all have the potential to be the best we can be. It starts by treating others with as much respect as we’d like to have ourselves.

A great way to start is to quit asking all these asinine, ignorant and (quite frankly) selfish questions. If, or when, you meet a trans woman, here’s something you might want to try: get to know them as a person. What hobbies do they like? Are they into biking like you? Or maybe board games? Fucking humanize them for god sake.

You might find a friend, instead of a curiosity.

 

An Honest Introduction

Somehow, I’ve always known I’d die of suicide…

It’s part and parcel of having crippling depression. Oh, did I not mention I have crippling depression? Well, I do.

It’s one of the reasons I started this blog: to be me; to tell the world how I see it. Also, I’ve been told I need to stretch my writing muscles, and since my abs aren’t doing any stretching right now, I might as well give it a shot.

For those who don’t know me:

“Hi.”

There . . . we’ve met.

My name is Kiko Kiera Garcia. I’m trans, I’m overweight, I’m cute as a button, I’m pretty good with makeup, I have a FANTASTIC attitude (not being sarcastic, I really do!), and I have crippling depression.

Wait, I hear you ask, how can someone have a good attitude and crippling depression? Well, swallow that flat, warm Coke you just shoved in your face, because I’m about to make you do a spit take; for you see . . .

1. DEPRESSION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ATTITUDE

It’s one of the things us folks with depression get tired of hearing over and over like the song list of Power 96.5 Springfield, Missouri.

“It’s all about attitude! Just find something that makes you happy!” Look, I appreciate the help, but that’s not how depression works, not for me anyway.

Depression is like this dark cloud that won’t go away. During my happiest times, it’s still there, lingering like some shadowy figure, weighing me down. Let me give you an example: I just had one of the best vacations of my life. A bunch of close friends, my girlfriend, and I went to Las Vegas. We partied by the pool, we played some games, we walked the Las Vegas Strip: it was amazing and we’re already planning another trip in the future. I had fun. . . . but the cloud; it was still there.

What is the cloud, you ask? It’s different things for different people; for me it’s the thought that no one REALLY likes me; that everyone is just BEING NICE. It’s not a voice, or anything like that. It’s a feeling. And it’s real; the FEELING is real, not what it stands for. Is that confusing? Good, welcome to my world.

Let me make it easier. I know the thought that everyone doesn’t like me is bullshit. I know its bullshit, because reality says otherwise. I hang out with my friends all the time and we always enjoy each other’s company. I love my girlfriend and she loves me by showing our affection towards each other. Nothing has changed about any of those things as far as what I’ve experienced in life – but, the feelings. The feelings say different. The feelings say that when I text my girlfriend, she rolls her eyes out of frustration and contempt. The feelings say that when I’m hanging out with my friends, they’re constantly trying to find ways to split. The feelings say that no one really likes me; quite the opposite – everyone is trying their hardest to stay away from me. They ignore me at worst and tolerate me at best.

By the way, if any of my friends is reading this, I want to reiterate something: I know that those thoughts are bullshit! But that doesn’t mean the feelings are. Do you remember that scene from the movie “Hannibal” where Anthony Hopkins cuts off the top part of Ray Liotta’s head, revealing his brain? And Ray Liotta is all happy and drugged up? I don’t either, so let me find a better example: remember “The Animatrix”? Yeah, you do. There’s a scene in the first short film where robots are poking around people’s brains, causing them to laugh or cry uncontrollably: that’s what it’s like; and it can come out of nowhere. One second you’re all happy eating Doritos, then the next second, out of nowhere, a gut feeling strikes that you are truly alone and nothing you do, or have done, or will ever do, matters . . . eating Doritos.

Hold on a sec, I hear you say, wiping that warm sticky Coke from your face, why can’t you just tell yourself that the feelings aren’t real?

Haven’t you been listening? –

2. THE FEELINGS ARE REAL

Still got a mother? Good. Now imagine she just died in a horrible accident. I’ll even let you pick the accident. Maybe it was a car crash. Maybe she fell off a balcony – she always partied so hard. And if your mother is already dead . . . I don’t know, pick someone who’s close to you and imagine they’ve been in a horrible accident. Really, imagine it; try hard to imagine it. Imagine getting the news of their death by a phone call. Imagine not knowing what to do next. Imagine crying in the corner as you try and gather your thoughts.

Pretty dark huh? I mean, can you imagine? How does that make you feel? Sad? Depressed? Well, I got news for you: it’s not the same as how I feel, not by a long shot. Here’s the difference: you can imagine these feelings, and sure, it makes you depressed for a while, but they were still triggered by a thought. You had to imagine your mother dying. It’s something we all think about all the time. How awful would it be if (insert close relative’s name here) died? And it makes you sad.

But, what if those feelings happened apropos of nothing? Nothing triggered them, they just happen. It’s SO hard to explain you guys. Feelings are not thoughts. They are not images, they are not memory, they sure as shit aren’t attitude; because those things aren’t real.

Feelings are real.

Feels are realz – (meh, worth a shot)

When your heart sinks into your stomach, when you’re short of breath, when your hands shake, when your mind becomes dull and numb; those are real. Let’s not forget the sadness; the pure, black sadness. The dark cloud that follows you into the sunniest days. The Shadowy Friend that always wants to hold your hand and lead you to the abyss of the dark, black nothing. The sadness is fucking real.

Now, imagine these feelings popping up at a friend’s birthday party. You’re having a blast, shooting the shit with your besties; then your other friend shows up, your Shadowy Friend, the Sadness; and she wants to hold your hand.

And you do.

You are surrounded by the people you love the most. Your friends are there. Your girlfriend is there. Some family may even be there. You’re surrounded by the most loving, supporting people anyone could hope to have in their lives . . . .and you’ve never been lonelier.

Hold up there, you say as you drop the bottle of warm coke on the carpet floor out of sheer bemusement, I have seen you at several parties. In fact, I see you all the time. You’re always in a good mood – always joking around, always making people laugh.

*sigh* . . . at this point it’s almost a cliché isn’t it? Some of the happiest, funniest people end up killing themselves. The reason why is because . . .

3. YOU LEARN TO LIVE WITH DEPRESSION (UNTIL YOU DON’T)

What? Did you think this all started months ago? A few years back? Sistah, please – I’ve had these feelings, this – depression since before grade school, since I was a fucking child!  Almost since I’ve known I was trans; which has been all my life. Did they grow together hand in hand? Perhaps, but that’s a goddamn book for another time right there.

My point is: like anything you grow up with, you learn to deal. How did I deal? I didn’t want anyone to know I had it (very typical with crippling depressed people), so I made sure that no one had to feel what I felt, so I projected the exact opposite feelings onto society; simple yes? I felt (For Real! Remember?) lonely, extremely lonely; I made sure that no one I knew felt as I did. I made jokes, I began writing, I joined the media club, band, speech and theater. If there was an audience, then I was there to entertain.

I was pretty good at it too. Still am, really.

But I told no one about my feelings. My feelings were sacred; locked up in some metaphysical box. My Shadowy Friend was my secret, and my burden. And when she wanted to come out to play, whenever she reached out her frozen, bony fingers, I had to oblige and hold her hand: welcome to depression.

And it worked! Making people happy made me happy (genuinely, it did! Remember, I am a happy person 90 percent of the time . . . make that 70 percent . . .do I hear 50?).  I continued media and writing throughout college and even into my career for a little while. I’m even doing it right now. Yes! I am writing this for people to read and, hopefully, enjoy!

Yet, those feelings of sheer loneliness; my Shadowy Friend. Somehow, she got stronger through the years, as I’m sure she does for most people with crippling depression. It’s why I call it “crippling,” it bears you down with dark, slimy weight over time. Pretty soon, writing wasn’t enough to keep her away, so I dropped it all together, except for some extra-long Facebook posts here and there. I lost my motivation for a bunch of the things I used to genuinely enjoy. I still had the will to keep people happy though, so I became an amazing listener and conversationalist. People tell me stuff all the time that they wouldn’t tell God, and he can hear their thoughts! To be honest, I can feel my motivation even for that drifting away as of late.

It’s like you’re born at the bottom of an hourglass and the only thing that falls through the crevasse are tiny droplets of dark, thick oil; maybe a droplet every couple of months or so. You learn to step aside as the droplets fall, but that gets tiring after a while, so you occasionally let a droplet hit you on the shoulder as you rest. Of course, the droplets keep coming, you can’t stop them. After years and years, you’re knee-deep in it. It’s so thick, moving around becomes exhausting; yet you still try to carry on. Years later, the oil level surrounds your neck; it’s hard to move, or breathe. With all the frail power you have left, you make your way to the center of the hourglass, look up, and finally embrace it. You close your eyes as you feel the oil splash on your forehead. After all these years you finally get a sense of relief as the oil level rises above your nose. At that point, the people you loved most, your closest friends, your family; will wonder why they didn’t see it coming.

Jesus Christ girl, you say as you wipe the coke from the carpet with a cold wet rag when you should be blotting the coke with a warm wet rag you animal, that’s fucking dark! Why have you never told me this before today?

Look, I understand this is a lot to take in if you’ve never suffered from depression before. But it’s about to get darker, so buckle up.

Here’s a picture of a puppy to soften the blow:

 

puppylookingup

 

I’ve never told you because, in my mind, if I were to tell anyone, I was certain that . . .

4. DISCUSSING DEPRESSION CHANGES EVERYTHING

I mean, how could it not?

Let’s say you get a text from that one friend who’s always been happy; always had a good attitude. You two meet at his place, and he tells you he’s suffered from depression most of his life. What do you do? What is your reaction? Do you run the other way as far as you can? Do you tell him that you’re his best friend and that you’ll always be there for him? Here’s a doozy of a question for you though: can you honestly see him the same way you did just 5 short minutes ago before he told you? It’s almost impossible isn’t it?

I can’t speak for others like me, but that’s what I’ve always feared: that our friendship, that our dynamic will forever be changed.

And it shouldn’t! Look; to all my friends and family: the person you have known, Me (Kiko), has always had depression. I had it before I met most of you. So, the person you see when you see me, has grown up with it; it’s part of me. I wouldn’t be the person you know if I didn’t have depression. I would be completely different!

The person that changes the most will be you, to be honest. Suddenly, the truth about this someone you know comes out; how can you not act differently? To you (some of you anyway), I am now a different person than I was before you read this article.

But I’m NOT!

I grew up with these feelings! I am who I am because of these feelings, not despite them! I wouldn’t know how to act, how to behave, how to tell a joke, how to listen, how to write without my Shadowy Friend holding my hand. At this point, I wouldn’t know how to live without her.

I don’t want your pity, I sure as hell don’t want your admiration or reverence. I just want your understanding.

I need you to understand.

Because there might be a day when my Shadowy Friend wants to hold hands, and she’ll hold a little tighter; and she’ll refuse to let go. The day I finally look up and embrace the falling black oil. There might be a day when you’ll see a sign on my bedroom door that says: “Don’t Go In. Just Call the Cops.”

For me, for most of my life, that day has been an inevitability. I can’t see it ending any other way. As I get older, that day feels sooner rather than later; and it scares me.

For God sakes don’t call the cops yet!

This isn’t a suicide letter. Y’see, this is what I was talking about. Now you’re all worried about me and shit. Believe me, I’m fine. Remember, I have lived with these thoughts and feelings since I was tiny; I wouldn’t be the person I am without them. Still, people kill themselves over this shit all the time. I guess that’s why I’m trying something new. I’m letting you know; letting you in. I want to give you a sense of understanding.

Wow, I hear you exclaim as you wipe your tears away with a cold, Coke-riddled rag, I feel like I should do something to help. What can I do?

Not much really. Mainly because –

5. HELPING IS HARD (BUT DOABLE)

How many times have you seen or heard the friend or family of a suicide victim say, “If they only would have let me know. I could have been there for them.”?

Is that really true though?

You have a busy schedule. Some of you have kids. Can you really fit “being there” for someone you love at a moments notice? It sounds like a mean question, but it’s an honest one. Depression isn’t on anyone’s schedule, especially the victim’s schedule. It pops up when it wants to; for me anyway. There are times when several months pass before my Shadowy Friend appears; and then she’s gone half a day later. There are times when she sticks around for weeks. She comes and goes – she’s crazy like that.

So, eventually,  the cares of friends and family go from “being there” to “let them know”. You hear it all the time when someone has died – “Listen, Malachi. I want you to know that if you need anything. You just let me know.” Poor Malachi just lost his whole family to rabies and now his friend has placed the burden of help on him. He has to let them know if or when he needs help dealing with such a tragic, foamy-mouthed loss.

Please don’t do that to me. Don’t ask me to just “let you know” when I need you. It makes me feel like a burden; like I’m taking time from your busy schedule to drop everything and come over. It’s no different than asking to borrow your car or help me move out.

So what should you do to help? Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve been on my own with this burden for so long, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Actually, that’s not true: I’ve written a blog about it. That’s a beginning, I guess. “Why didn’t they tell me about it?” – It’s a question friends and family of suicide victims ask all the the time. Well, here I am. I’ve told you about it. Now what?

But hey! It’s a start right? Don’t look so glum. Look at me! I’m smiling! 😀  See? Now you give it a try. I know I’ve talked openly about my depression; discussed my suicide, compared my feelings to a shadowy figure I keep referring to as my “friend”: but, try and give a smile for ol’ Kiko:

 

 

 

 

smilefrown

 

 

 

There it is!

 

Look, depression isn’t the easiest thing to talk about. But it’s something that should be discussed openly, freely, and safely. Too many people have died because they fear what will happen when they talk about their depression with friends and family. They fear that the dynamic will forever be changed; that people will look down on them with pity; or even the opposite; they fear that people will look up at them with admiration for their “bravery”. I’m not brave. I’m also not pitiful. I’m Kiko. I’m the same Kiko now as I was 5 short minutes ago. Like I said, I don’t know how you can help, but listening would be a good start.

Listen and understand. Try your hardest to understand. You won’t get it right off, and you may want to give up in frustration, but try to understand. That’s all I ask. And once this topic can finally stop being so taboo, then maybe the death toll will drop. Hopefully.

If anyone reading this has depression, crippling depression, I want you to know that there’s at least one person out there like you. And when your Shadowy Friend, your feelings, start to get the better of you, know that I’m also holding her hand. And one day, when she wants to walk you to the abyss; by talking it out, you may find the right amount of strength to pull back.

Speaking of which, as I sit by myself in the dark, writing my first blog; I can feel her approach, like a gust of wind in my mind. She makes me doubt writing this article. Makes me think that my friends will run away after reading it. That my family will look down with pity and disappointment. Remember, these feelings are real. I can feel them. Here’s hoping I have the strength to publish . . . .
– Kiko Kiera Garcia