Field Notes In/On Transition
Welcome to the Dark Side, part D’oh
Work is kicking my ass as much or more than any hormones. We’ve been crazy busy over the holidays, and the busier it’s gotten, the less I can have my routine of getting things like inventory, stock, calling lates, cleaning discs, and thus, the crankier I’ve gotten. People have complained. I’m not getting into details, but I was in the wrong, every time, and have been really cranky at work for a while now.
It has to stop NOW, and I really hope I can figure out how to deal with retail without driving myself insane. I may have to take my vacation early this year.
I can’t crankypants myself out of my current awesome job. I really can’t, even before transition, my options were limited.My boss, my coworkers and 99% of the customers are awesome, and have been continually great about my transition, and dealing with my oft grumpy attitude. Now the odds of me getting a job, and not ending up homeless within a few months are really really low.
The unemployment rate for (cranky or non cranky) Trans folk is pretty high. EI? by the time you get it, if you get it, you need to already have a new job. Even the highest EI rates barely cover rent in Van-hattan. I love my apartment, I don’t want to move, or lose my job. I have to make it work for me again. I have no real options or confidence in my place in the job market.
My thinking all along has been that the estrogen is kicking my ass, and it’s definitely a part of it... but it might just be more the death throes of the old “unhappy with everything” me last seen around this time last year, especially. I’m as friendly as you get, most of the time, if you know me, you know this is true, but I’m also quick tempered, and I seethe, always have, much to my chagrin.... I have to try to be a grown up now. This is very new to me. Peter Pan has nothing on this Trans Pan Josie.
Maybe I’m addicted to regretting dumb ass behaviour. I’ve done retail 9+ years now (7+ at my current), despite not really feeling cut out for it ever. And to be honest, I’ve really enjoyed working in video stores, and learned a lot about people, and made more awesome friends than I can count; but, I can only take so much interaction in a day. I don’t deal well in high pressure situations, ie: when people are being demanding of me, or make me feel like I need to rush, I respond with at least: huffiness, if not and/or condescension.
So, I’m still unhappy with some things in my life. Ironically, the thing that I always denied myself: my transition, living as a woman, is maybe the most successful, and really only satisfying part of my life. This may seem crazy, but I feel kind of like everything I did before now was “stop gap,” all the jobs I’ve had over the years, all the writing and creative stuff, all the people I thought I should be in love with, as well as things like going to Japan, paying off my debts, and returning from there; I never once felt like I had any other choice, but to do those things. I’ve never had a job, that someone didn’t help me get. The whole networking thing is 100% true in my case. But either way they were all practice, rehearsal for the real thing, which, now, I guess to extend the metaphor somewhere else, means that now I’m in Dress Rehearsal, If not the Tech Dress.
And like a typical Stage Manager in a Tech Dress...I feel stretched really thin, despite having put on 10-15 lbs since starting transition. I really don’t think it’s “just the hormones,” I just started those, and am taking a light dosage, at that. It’s more, the more I think on it, the dissatisfaction that I have with these other aspects of my life that is making me so cranky. It’s not like I don’t have a history of crankiness, I do. Joe was cranky all the time as well. I’ve had to deal with this at my retail jobs over and over, and interestingly in non retail work, not at all.
I take on a lot of things that I don’t have to in my life. I imagine some people carry a bad interaction they had at a store with a clerk around with them for a while. I tend to carry each of these little events around for days, weeks... It also makes for a good story.
Bitchy clerks, though, are people too. Your bad moment is their bad moment. I personally feel like shit after (and sometimes during) a confrontation or bad miscommunication of any kind, and so do most people. We have just as many “bad clerk” stories as you do. Everyone shops. I carry these things (where I’m the villain) around, too. No sane person feels good about being rude to someone else.
Also, I feel that when you do get bad service it’s better to complain, then and there, stop the clerk and say, “Maybe you don’t realize it, but you are being rude,” or “I find your tone condescending.” I have had people do that for me (yes “for” me, it shows empathy and compassion on their end, and makes you feel the same on your end) and I have done that when the roles were reversed. Everyone feels better sooner, and the situation gets resolved. Or you could, like those who have recently complained about me, just tattle to the powers that be. Tattling makes people feel like they were faultless in whatever miscommunication happened. This is not true. Call people on their shit. Call me on my shit.
I have a fuzzy notion as well in all my self analysis I’ve been doing here is that on a juvenile (delinquent) level (where my hormones are heading) ... that I’m being terribly impatient to start my new life as Josie, and why aren’t red carpets being rolled out, big hollywood contracts being offered... all the fantasies of life finally working out, “if only.” If only I could afford a therapist! I wouldn’t feel the need to blog.
I feel like a snake sloughing its skin, sometimes, seriously... only my skin is a life time of anger, resentment at vague powers that be that I don’t even believe in, feeling that life is unfair in that very first world way that many of those of us born after the baby boom feel: big “E” Entitlement. All these issues I’ve ranted/whined to friends, over coffee, about over the years seem to me, now to have been red herrings, aside from the one pervasive issue, being Trans.
I have a lot of palpable anger, and very few healthy outlets. I’m scared to death of going to the gym, or joining therapy groups. And, as ridiculous as it sounds this all comes from my fear (fear and anger are just variances of self loathing behaviour as far as I can tell) of failing. I feel like at some point I will fail, or the world will conspire to keep me from a successful transition. I tend towards thinking that I’m incapable of doing any kind of job other than the one I have. I have zero confidence that even if I went back to being “a Man” (uggh), that I could secure a decent enough job to pay my rent, pay for my pills that despite being on “fair pharma care” still cost me thousands of dollars a year.
If 2012 was the year I become myself, 2013 is beginning to be the year where I have to face the fact that I’m kind of an asshole sometimes, and try hard to learn to be a person who can suck it up and get past people who try my patience. That, or it’s the year I disappear into unemployment, homelessness, and despair. At this moment in time, it seems to be a coin toss. I’ve never considered myself to be successful at anything, and recently I’ve been a jerk at work, in my gaming group, and more often than that, in my own mind. I don’t feel like there’s any promise in my life for things like work to get better than it is. Some things don’t get better.
I am happy to be able to be Josie, but most of the time, I’m still very much the broken person I have always been. My confidence is pretty fragile (and any time in my life when it seemed I had confidence? Lies, on my part, self loathing bluster and being confident are two different things) right now.
But I’m going to have a good chat today with my boss, maybe he can give me some perspective, as he often does on things. It is great to have a boss who can be as empathetic as mine is. I’m going to try really hard to not get snarky with people. If I can’t pull this off, I feel that I’m lost.
Of course as usual, just writing all this out over the last two days has me feeling better, and given me some ideas about how I can shape up, and what I can do to make myself stop feeling so bad about things and myself all the time. I need to run it all by my boss, but even if it doesn’t work for him, I know he will listen and be helpful.
Likely I’ll have another blog post soon about how I’m doing with all this. Please don’t feel I’m totally drowning in despair, I’m not. The fact that I have this outlet, my blog to help me coalesce my thoughts and feelings, and that I have people in my life who will give me feedback on my “issues” makes me feel better than any fortitude i might gather on my own.