Purging Can there be a more painful, depressing, and shame-causing experience as purging? If you are unfamiliar with the term in its relationship to trans* people, it’s the process of taking all of your gender-affirming attire, accessories, jewelry, shoes and anything related (your stuff) and throwing them out. It is something almost all of us have done in the past, may be doing as you read this or will do. It is guilt based, for the most part. You get in a confused, anxious state where you want to stop your desire to present or live as your true gender because circumstances are keeping you from it. The mere existence of your belongings only add to the hurt, confusion and guilt, so you take your stuff out and throw them in the nearest dumpster or donate it to the local Goodwill.
No Relief As you drive away from where you purged your belongings, the hoped-for relief is not there, or if it is, it’s short lived. We all hope by throwing away our feminine or masculine clothing, we are also throwing away the urge to be a different gender. As we all know, it doesn’t work like that. Not only does it not go away, the desire, at least for me, increases. The pain grows, the guilt builds and soon I am in a state of depression. It’s doubly harsh for us because we are also denying who we really are.
A Suggestion I was chatting with my dear friend, Elayne, who recommended I discuss this. We have both over the years thrown away thousands of dollars worth of clothing, shoes, wigs, jewelry and countless other items. We both lamented some of the prize possessions we pitched in the trash, wishing we had never done it. We continued to talk and both of us admitted it would have been nice if we had someone with whom we could have called upon to talk to, who understood, and also was able to take our belongings and keep them for us. That would have gotten our stuff away so we could think about our real reason for purging and also not to destroy a considerable investment.
The Flaw The flaw with this thought, for me when I purged my last time, was I was still way back in the closet, under the blankets. I didn’t want anyone to know. I didn’t want anyone to find out about me. I didn’t want to even acknowledge what was going on with myself. I had not reached out and been able to build friendships where I could have asked someone to take my stuff for a while. That would have added to my depression and guilt was what I really wanted to purge.
My Wish What I’m hoping to accomplish here is to let those who are just starting their journey or not even sure what their journey is to know the feelings you may have are ones most of us have lived. Use forums like this one to seek out advice and build friendships. Form a network of people you trust, whose advice you can depend on. Hopefully, you will avoid guilt-inducing activities, such as purging. You find you are not alone and have a lot in common with many of us.
If you can help a brother or sister by talking to them, befriending them and listening when they hit the tough patches and even stashing their stuff for a while, you will go a long way in helping them on their journey.