Flying Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Everyone has a deepest fear, I’ve heard a number of them, some of them make sense to me others don’t, but it isn’t necessary for me to understand, I accept that this is the way you feel. If you are afraid of it, I believe you are afraid of it. I have my own, developed and finely honed over a lifetime. I have lived my life being fearful, rational or not they were mine, from waking to sleeping they intruded on my thoughts and effected the way I lived my life. Now at this late stage, I have finally given some thought about what I have been afraid of and why, a thread that seems to run through a majority of them is a fear of losing control.
My existence as a transgender individual, is I believe, at the heart of the problem. I grew up in the fifties and sixties, this fact plays an important role in my life as it was a time of absolute conformity. It was reinforced on a regular basis by the likes of “Leave it to Beaver” and Donna Reed. Being different wasn’t acceptable, try and imagine the fear and shame if they ever found out I actually saw myself as a girl.
In my mind, my control over a situation was of paramount importance. I could only hope to remain a part of “normal” society as long as they didn’t learn the truth about me. The lies I told and the secrets I kept convinced me without a doubt that I was mentally ill. In a time before the internet there was no information about what I was feeling, and as far as I knew I was the only person like me in the world. That there weren’t any words in my vocabulary to describe what I felt simply reinforced the fear. I did know one thing for certain, situations that I did not control had the potential to out me as mentally unbalanced.
My life took its first serious detour at the end of my senior year of high school; absolutely certain that I would have an unavoidable breakdown if I went to college, I performed the ultimate self-sabotage. I quit high school with about 8 weeks left. I had enough credits to graduate, my class ranking was about 220 in a class of almost 1100, with a solid B+ average and I had been accepted to college, I just couldn’t go, no wonder I thought I was crazy.
I certainly could have benefited from some kind of therapy at that point, but again, my fear of the questions they would ask, paralyzed me. The questions would be designed to get to the truth, a truth I could not believe that I would survive if it was ever to see the light of day
I did the only thing I thought I could do, I withdrew. And I stayed there, I kept my secrets
A few years later Jack Nicholson and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” gave substance to my fears. In that movie I saw what my mind had only vaguely postulated, now I knew what it was I was afraid of. Being locked up, control over my life removed from me. Deemed to be crazy or in need of being fixed they, whoever they were, would do whatever they needed to do to bring me back in line with normal. If that included destroying me or my mind in the process they would deem that an acceptable risk. I could not be allowed to continue to live as this damaged pathetic individual.
That was certainly a lot to be afraid of.
The terror lingers to this day, this fear of losing control over my own life.

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