Field Notes In/On Transition
Long Time No Blog
I’ve been trying to get together my thoughts to write an update for at least a month now.
The holiday season for me is like for many, usually kind of a low ebb season. But this year I made a point everyday to try and find some people to spend time with, to do things ( a lot of it was eating and drinking) with people and actually going out to events invited to, instead of staying home thinking and fretting about things, wishing that I was strong enough to participate.
It really made my holiday season great, having that mindset every day. The key was that every day I chose to go see some people, or follow up on open invites. A few days I stayed home and left off the makeup, and had some nice low stress solo time, listening to music (mostly for choir practice) binging some TV (Broad City), and playing some video games (Fallout New Vegas). I managed to get just the right staggering of socializing, and non-socializing that I started sleeping better, and not being as morose and depressed so regularly.
I had nice low key dinners and drinks with people in the Trans community, the Femme community (choir) and various old and new friends. Stayed in for a low key cheesy movie watching and catching up with a couple of friends and a bottle of sake on NYE. At the same time I started getting the ball rolling on getting some help finding employment, or re-training, whatever the heck it is that I am going to do for money next.
For me, the biggest problem, is that there are very few jobs or even ideas of jobs that I feel like I can/want to do. At WorkBC, I took a great workshop in getting your resume together, job searching, interviewing, cover letters, etc. I got a great resume out of it for a specific job that I may or may not be recommended for by WorkBC, if they ever hear back from the company. An EI top up gig. I have been preparing for a month but at this point am not hopeful that it will even get me to an interview before I have to take something else.
I wish I could get a job just having conversations with people. I liked the workshop so much, that I felt like maybe I could go back to a school scenario maybe easier than I have been thinking.
But it is so hard for me, in the job searching part of job hunting to find something I feel qualified for. I don’t understand how people get jobs by cold calling. I hated cold callers when I worked somewhere, and I still I hate them calling my phone to lie to me. Why would I do that? We are told that maybe they will create a job for you. If I could create my own job I would be working already, for myself. Which despite the vague haziness of what the heck I would do for my own business when asked... “Umm I don’t know, write, um, make movies,” is precisely what I ‘really want to do.’ I want to somehow make enough money from my painting, photos,writing, whatever artistic endeavours to just barely eke out a living. Seriously, anything beyond just scratching by at this point is gravy to me. Since far better artists than me have a hard time doing so with more ambition than I have, more endurance for rejection.
A few months ago, I mused on here and facebook that since I wasn’t working I could theoretically spend more time getting some where with these artistic projects, the several half written novels, the paintings and photos that I have sold a few of in the last year, time to do more, figure out how to get more visible, sell more. But as usual, I didn’t do that, I dove straight into the sea of half assed job hunting called using the internet.
I still think if I could free myself from my stressing out and stop sidetracking myself with false hopes of resumes sent into the aether. Follow up calls? I learned in my workshop this month that you need to do that. I had no idea. I have never once gotten a job from just sending my resume in, or calling after the interview. Either I got the job or I didn’t. I definitely didn’t send a card afterwards, as we learned is a thing. I can never remember birthday cards, let alone thanks for not hiring me cards. Um no, I won’t be doing that. A call I could do, “Any word yet on the position.” I got a lot out of the workshop, but not all of it sits very well with me. I am having such a hard time as seeing myself as doing anything but begging for a job at this point.
I keep coming back to the idea that I could do temporary jobs, hopefully in the arts somehow, 3-6 months at most, contracts, whatever. Or figure out how to make my ‘dreams’ a reality. One exercise I like to do once a month or so is to buy a lotto ticket. I am not stupid enough to think I am going to win anything. But I fantasize about what I would do with the money. This is well worth a few bucks to me.... It always involved my own house, but with a basement theatre/studio, where I would host movie nights, readings, salons in my community.
Often this fantasy moves to the idea of finding a commercial space to hold events, some sort of shoppe with a boutique daytime identity, game store, movie store, or something that is actually needed in my hood. (I never think of using money to travel, or buy stuff, just these things) that at night time each night there is either gaming tables rented out or a music, or poetry, or some other arts event, maybe it’s a gallery... those kinds of things. I never dream of all the stuff I can buy in my lotto fantasies, just the stuff I could do. Even financially set up, the world I want includes the community I already have, but with myself being more present by having something more to offer than just a voice at open mics, or a volunteer at the door.
Eventually the lotto aspect of the fantasy gives way, often before I even check the ticket to see that once again I don’t have any numbers right except the date. I start thinking about how could I make a space like that in my neighbourhood without winning the lotto, banks? Grants? I have no idea. It seems like so much work, but lots of people are already doing things like it. How do I make enough money to live on while helping to promote the culture that I want to become more a part of, that I feel like I have withdrawn from in the years preceding my transition almost 4 years ago (Mar 21st will be my 4 year anniversary of HRT)...?
I don’t know yet. I don’t think I am going to be able to make a case for a self employment program, or any business plan from freelancing my writing (by writing more and actually submitting) or art. Can I make a plan that has me printing off my art, and my books and stories and selling them at local craft fairs, flea markets and the like? Maybe? I really have no idea how viable any ’product’ is. I would give so much to be able to take over the space that used to be my friend Patricia’s store (I hear the landlord already kiboshed two groups wanting to take over, leaving it empty for a year now, such a prime spot) and find a way to sell enough nerdy games, LGBTQA etc books, and local craft/art, a reasonable gallery? Something. Tea, coffee, art?
Hmm. This blog was meant more to reflect the better space I am in right now, despite my continued unemployment, and bad attitude. I have also been proud to be learning new things in my choir. We sold out two shows at the end of the month, the first show, in less than 3 hours after tickets went on sale. No pressure. :p It’s a great group of interesting folks who sing together once a week at least. Lots of sectionals as the performances approach.
My more confident and happier Xmas also helped me to finally go to my bank and start taking back some of my RRSP a bit early. I am grabbing another chunk this week, so that my CC is down to almost zero, and my line of credit has more wiggle room which I am likely to need in the next month or few if I can’t find any way to earn some money. I was bitter and sad about it until New Year’s when I realized that screw it, it can be my salvation now, instead of when I get old(er). I need it now, and I scraped by to put it there. So now it will give me a bit of breathing room while I figure out what I am doing.
Which I guess I haven’t really figured out yet. Either way, I also have to get back working less piecemeal and more regularly at finishing my various novels, and publish them myself as soon as they are ready. As well, printing off more of my art and figuring out how to talk people into buying it. I have far too many things I want to do, that I never seem to get to, because I am fraught with what I also think I am “supposed to” do. Like I say every time I blog, I need to do things I plan, more often. Could I kickstart a memoir?
I am so tired of feeling like I have no value, I know it is not any kind of truth, I really do. But it is how a feel dammit. I want to tell my stories, but am certain no one wants to hear them. I am trying everyday to unlearn this. It is frigging hard. I only feel like I have been a human being for 4 years. I am running after everyone else to catch up. Transitioning was easily the best decision I have ever made. But there is more to it than being accepted by the world or even just your friends and family. You also usually have to rebuild your work life from scratch. I have a ton of privilege in my life, living where I do, and being who I am, and I am grateful, I really am.
But I have also given up every chance I ever had to find love, or a job I actually wanted because I never felt worthy. I would not wish a lifetime of Gender Dysphoria on my worst enemy. I always let myself fall short lest people find out what I fraud I am/was. I am feeling less like a fraud these days, but I still don’t know what its like to feel worthy of my own gifts. I am just going to keep trying, and maybe someday in the future I won’t need to feel like I am sorry all the time, like everyone is judging me, and harshly, and that, conversely their compliments, are real.
Love, children, careers, are all things that other people can have. I have lived too much in my mind. When you spend your whole life in your mind, knowing that people won’t accept the real you.... This is what I thought when I started transitioning, until eventually I said fuck it, I don’t care anymore if everyone hates me for this. What I did find was that I still had a community, that many people I thought would abandon me, in fact have become better friends than maybe either of us ever thought we would be. I have found new communities with other trans folk, my choir and the people in my neighbourhood, which is more like (a grown up) Sesame Street than anywhere I have ever lived.
Maybe this post goes nowhere, it definitely doesn’t show you how much better I have been feeling and dealing lately. I finally chose to write this on a day when I was feeling really down in the ashes. I cried for half an hour before I was able to start. But I really do not have that sense of doom that I had even a month ago. I still really do not know what my next step is, but I am getting ever more ready to take it, whatever it turns out to be.
Oh and PS, I made an online dating profile. Not much happening there other than spam, but It is in my mind a giant leap for me to have taken.