This post is PART 23 in a guest blogger series following author Rachael's transition from an A.M.A.B (Assigned Male at Birth) individual to that of a self-identified trans woman.
If you are just discovering Queer as me, start the story from the beginning here.
I had just walked into the commons, when lunch was being wheeled into the dinning area. I decided to wait until I saw that most of the platters were taken. Since I hadn't had the ability to order anything for this meal, I presumed that I would be eating someone else’s food choices. By the time, I sat down to eat, most of the other patients had either left to their own rooms or to wherever spaces they were allowed access to. Surprisingly even though the food was lukewarm, it was good, a little bland for my taste, but tolerable.
Since I had just arrived on the floor, I wasn't able to leave the open main area . I wasn't even allowed to be alone, as I found that there was a nurse, or councilor, who continued to hover in the background observing me and jotting down on their notepad. Who knew what notes they were writing in regards to me, and hopefully my lack of desire to be here didn’t show in my body language. But I knew that sooner than later I would have to talk to someone. But surprisingly no one came to interact with me, neither patients nor the staff. Mind you I’m assuming here, maybe they were just allowing me some space in which I could deescalate myself.
Even though the main area was seemingly comfortable with it's big soft sofas, and its waiting room stack of old magazines. The decor didn’t belay the feeling I had of being trapped. Not only that, but I could feel an atmosphere of tentative waiting. For what reason? I had no idea.
I was about to ask one of the nurses, when a tall man came walking out of his room sobbing uncontrollably. With his loud crying instantly increasing the feeling of anxiety in the entire room, I froze to the spot undecided as to what I should be doing. I looked across the room to the nurses station, and saw that those who had been working or talking had gone silent and were sitting up showing much more alertness then they had previously. As he continued to wander the floor with tears falling down his face, the heighten anxiety in the room slowly abated, for no reason I could understand.
The security guards had begun to move to different parts of the room, watching the man as he continued to sob. Strangely, no nurse came to see if he was OK, nor did any other patient step up to console him. I’m guessing that what was happening was a somewhat regular occurrence. He never looked up, and a few moments later had returned to his room, still sobbing. It was startling to say the least, as usually one would presume to reach out to help in regards to seeing someone suffer. But because I didn’t know him nor what etiquette there was in a place like this, I chose to do nothing. Which wasn’t hard as my usual empathetic emotions were quite blunted by lack of desire to be helpful. It was after spending a few hours walking in circles around the dedicated lounge area, I was told that it was time to turn in. I didn’t have to sleep I was told, but I must spend the night in my room. I was lucky as I didn’t have a roommate yet, so it was easy to acquiesce to their demand.
The night proved to be long, especially since I barely got any sleep. I didn’t trust anyone there, and I had no idea if they would come for me at any time while I slept. So I stayed up and dozed off and on throughout the night. I don’t know how many times they checked on me, I just kept looking at the door when someone walked by to look in on me. It was very unsettling to say the least. I could hear everything, the crying of other patients and the whispers of the nurses as they walked by. I must have fallen asleep at some time during the night as it was almost seven thirty when I heard the breakfast being rolled into the main room.
I was still exhausted and indifferent, it was just another day in paradise.
Editor’s Note: To read Queer as me – Part 24: Roommate, click here. Or click here to read the previous blog post Queer as me – Part 22: Losing everything, For the latest LSOP blog posts and so much more, make sure to add us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.