Field Notes In/On Transition.
How to get people to stop commenting on your blog? Make it really depressing.
For the last month or so, most of my blog posts (and facebook updates) have been very dark, self hating, depressing. The amount of people commenting, liking my links to the blog, or responding to my whinery on Facebook has dropped off sharply. No one wants to know about the (self made mostly) horrible parts of your life, that you feel you can’t do something, or have lost or don’t deserve some kind of entitlement.
This has not been my intent, to drive folk away from me and my various first world troubles. But that has been the effect. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer, or a Negative Nancy, unless she has her own sit com. In most of my blog posts I feel like I have worked through what ever issue that was eating at me, through the act of writing about it and evaluating how I express myself through that prose. My last few posts though, I feel like I left out the “ahhh I learned something through writing about whatever is bothering me” part of the process.
How can I change the rest of my life to match the satisfaction I have in transitioning?
The only, and I mean only part of my life that I feel even remotely good about recently is my transition. I know beyond any doubts, that, I’m doing the right thing for myself. I feel like I’m not going too fast or too slow. I’m more comfortable in my skin than I ever have been. Yet: I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, is the story of my life far too much lately.
All the aspects of how I live aside from getting to present myself as the woman I know I am, despite the lifetime of “being a man.” A man filled with self loathing and an innate sense that everything I attempt is tainted by the lie of who I was presenting myself as. Obviously, Transition is a big part of anyone’s life, but it’s really all about presenting a shell or a mask that is (finally) comfortable to wear in public. Despite the fact that I get called Sir or Buddy all day no matter how much I femme it up, I still feel more beautiful, and honest in my appearance than I have in my life, ever.
All the other aspects of living in the world though, still seem forbidden to me. A good job? It’s unlikely that I will ever make more than I do now. I don’t make very much. I am barely able to pay my rent, bills, barely. I have to put my prescriptions on my Visa card most months because the so called “fair” pharmacare thinks that 10% of my yearly take home pay is a fair deductible, before I get any kind of discount.
It’s extremely difficult for me to accept praise without shrugging it off or thinking the person offering praise is just being nice, or having a joke at my expense. Often, I get really defensive when people make suggestions as to what kinds of things I “should” or “could” be doing with my life.
You are a good writer, be a writer. Yeah there’s money in that, not, is a variation on my stock answer. You take amazing photographs, you should sell them. Uh yeah how many photographers are there in the world who make no living no matter how good they are?
My mind is fairly made up that there is no money (for me) to be made from being any kind of artist, yet that is all I have ever really been interested in doing. Everything else I’ve done, almost every “job” I’ve had, has been a stopgap, or “way to pay the bills while burning the midnight oil, on whatever art I’m doing.”
I don’t burn the midnight oil much anymore, but, I still write a lot, I take hell of a lot of photos. I have a certain amount of confidence in these things being well done. And they are the things I do every week that gives me as much or more joy than anything else. But at the same time “I know” that there is no way to live from something that gives me joy any more than there is from simply living my life as the woman I am, or want to be.
There wasn’t any more confidence in my heart or mind when I was presenting as Joe Boyce Burgess, in terms of having some semblance of a career than there is now being Josie Ann Boyce. When people ask me, and they do; “What else do you see yourself doing?” .
My transition is the only thing where I finally stopped compromising and taking the “easy route.” Which of course wasn’t that easy for me, really.
That hustle and ambition that the dozens of facebook friends that I have who are artists who somehow make a living (mostly, or only) doing the thing(s) they love; I feel that hustle is somehow out of my reach. Maybe I’m not as confident in being Josie as I think, yet. I have no need to earn much more than I do now, in fact. If I were somehow able to clear say 200 or 300 more a month (than I was making last month before losing some hours), I would feel like I was wealthy.
Ah well, what was that I said over and over again last summer in these posts?
Baby Steps, Josie, Baby steps.
What I’m trying to get to in my typical long winded fashion, is that despite a rash of (small, really) setbacks recently, I continue to make progress in my transition, feeling more myself (perhaps a somewhat emotionally raw self that needs to find a way to pull back) every day.
The more I write my blog, and read every day...my TV watching, movie watching has sunk to an all time low of maybe an hour or two a night, sometimes none, except hockey in the background while I curl up in my almost comfy chair and sink into my book.
There are also more good interactions with people who come into my work as I’ve been making as much effort as I can to not get wound up by all the few weird interactions that happen. I’m trying hard to keep smiling, making small talk, and give the person a good feeling even if they couldn’t get the movie of their choice. This I do feel good about, that I’ve made progress on something that I couldn’t or wouldn’t, as Joe.
Recently I’ve had two really great interactions in areas I am/was nervous of in the past. The first was going back to the Laser hair removal place. I was exhausted by the first one, and had had a very long day at work that day, the appointment was at 7:30pm, I’m usually in my jammies by that point on a Friday.
Yesterday at work we had a bit of computer glitch that we have been able to work around, but It was yet another stressful day for me, and I was again feeling exhausted by my own inability to chill; when a couple of young gals came into the shop. One was carrying two books; the one on the bottom was my book “Like Bukowski In Drag.”
I mentioned to her that she had my book in her arms. She’d read the title poem in the store, and loved it. I was humbled. She flipped to the next couple of pieces after I signed it for her, noting there seemed to be a lot of sex. I rolled my eyes a bit, “ahh the old days,” I said within
a bit of a sigh.
So there are some bright spots, despite maybe all the doom and gloom that I’ve been slinging on Facebook and here as well. One of the best books on Zen that i’ve ever read is the recent one by Jeff Bridges, where he has a conversation with a buddhist scholar, “The Dude & the Zen Master, it was called, and even just the title brings to mind one of the most quoted movie phrases, that needs to be really “heard,” more than any other: “The Dude abides.”
Josie, also abides, well, first she flips out and pulls her hair, wails and cries, then, then she abides.