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Trying can be trying

Field Notes In/On Transition

Maybe these posts are getting repetitive?

The rains of October are upon us in late September. After a pretty awesome summer weather wise in Vancouver; I am nervously gearing up to do some Box Office work, for the Vancouver International Film Festival, or VIFF. It’s 14 days of I have no idea how long the shifts are, as the schedule only has your start time. But basically every afternoon except two, from the 25th of September, to October 10th. I am pretty certain that it will screw up my ei, having them dock me before I get paid from the fest. No matter how hard you try, someone always has their foot on your neck. But I am doing it anyway, I need to network.

Back in the fire of customer service kind of hard core, but at least it’s only a couple of weeks, and like the video store: in my knowledge wheelhouse. I had a day of Training early last week on the software, used to sell tickets. I think a lot of folks will already have tickets though as most folks these days buy their tickets online.  So, the sales will be concentrated to just before the movie starts when they sell off as many as possible, letting reserves go etc. Got to get bums in seats.  Since I am working days/afternoons, I am hoping it’s not a constant busy din.

I am really hopeful it will all go well, but as always I have my own fears of people burning me out, despite/because of my near decade of retail and few years of teaching, I am/can be only outgoing for a few hours a day at best. I will be working mostly on my own, as the ticket booth is tiny at the theatre where I am doing my shifts, that happens to be a stone’s throw from my house.

I really feel like I am holding myself back on being more disciplined with my writing, artistic endeavours. I am having a really hard time, just sitting down and getting stuff done. I still seem to feel like I am in some sort of recovery from all the changes that have gone on in my life, the last year and/or few years. The paintings on the ipad are the only thing that I definitely seem to make time for everyday. It really has become a nice creative meditation for me. I am getting to the point, though, that I think I will start doing some lessons from youtube, watch some Bob Ross videos maybe, and do a bit of learning, get back some of those drawing skills that I have let lie dormant since I stopped drawing my comic book in the 1995.

The novel I started last year has really been gathering dust, and I have to get back on that. If only I could rally my strength, and the communication skills I do really have, and work on these creative projects a few hours each every day, and make a real effort to get my name and work out there, I could somehow squeak out a living, or at least part of one. Maybe bump it up with other work, hopefully in the same creative ballpark, commissions? I don’t know. I really don’t know how to make myself work harder at selling my own creations, art, writing, whatever.

This all comes out of the fear that has immobilized me most of my life, and despite all the strength I know that I have shown with transition and leaving work, and so on, that my fear of failing, or no one giving a crap, ignoring me. I have never really believed that anyone respects me, or my art. I didn’t submit much writing (but I did more than people who know me, might think, I submitted 4 different “novels” over the years, and like most people only ever got rejection, there are a heck of a lot of manuscripts floating around) over the years, mostly because looking at publishers catalogs, or magazine’s poems, I just assumed my stuff wasn’t what they were looking for. You know what they say about assumptions. Confidence has never been my strong suit.

And I think that stubborn lack of self confidence was squarely part of my inability to really transition until I was 45 years old. I have been out since I was 25 as Trans*, but I never felt like anyone believed me, thus I went in out of the closet binging and purging wardrobes every few years. I would make stabs at it, going to parties, dressing around the house, but never got much confidence from those things. Like many maybe, I needed it to become a life and death issue for me. Could I live any longer pretending to be a man, feeling those horrible (to me) male hormones making me sex obsessed and even guiltier feeling about my urges to transition? To my mind doing something like this for sexual reasons is/was not enough. Sex has never really brought much light into my life. It just makes me feel ashamed of my body, and ashamed of my self.

I am so glad to be mostly rid of those urges and desires. Sure I wouldn’t mind having a real partner, but I am not in any way counting on that happening. There is no such thing as a soul mate, or The One. That’s ridiculous on every level, as far as I am concerned, and just makes those of us who have never had love feel even more ashamed and like we are somehow unable, or disallowed from those kinds of relationships. I have never been in love with someone who was in love with me at the same time. Timing is everything. There is not someone for everyone. I am living proof of that. I am the only person I know who has never had a partner who loved them at the same time as they loved their partner, if only briefly.

Boy, I really did not start out wanting to write about that at all, but I think I am going to leave it there. I think maybe I thought of it because of one of those positive affirmation e-card things on facebook that I reposted, it reads:

 “Don’t chase people. Be an example. Attract them, work hard and be yourself. The people who belong in your life will come find you and stay. Just do your thing.”

I was thinking more about friends who come and go when I read it, digested it, and reposted it. But I guess more intimate friends also come and go, over your life too. I have never been successful, chasing people to be friends, or more. These days I feel that the friends I have, or am making are people who are doing similar things to me, maybe alongside me, like the Choir that I mentioned in my last post. I have now gone to two rehearsals, and it is still pretty intimidating for me to do the one artsy endeavour that has never come easy to me: singing/music. I have always written, drawn, created art in various ways, but was always stifled by the fact I couldn’t ‘just sing, or play an instrument’ without real work and study, like I could writing and drawing.

My off key warbling has never gotten me more than a polite smile, and maybe an eye roll. This lack of need for study as far as art and words go, is also at the core of my lack of discipline, obviously. In the choir however there are so many people of varying skill and ability, and everyone to me has been really helpful to those who are a bit lost, like me. I am hoping to make some good friends who enjoy learning to sing together as much as I do.

Maybe now that I am finally myself, not busy manufacturing whoever Joe was, I can, and am finding new ways to use my gifts wisely, and maybe eventually have more than a bravado sort of pride in my work. I really do not have any clue what people thought of me as Joe, in terms of my art, or even as a person, except for those who loved and appreciated me as a friend and told me so, oh so often. You folks kept me alive! My (most positive) presumption was that everyone saw me as a Likeable Failure, because if Joe had any kind of identity, it was exactly that, and it dogs me to this day. It's hard to shake, to unlearn feeling only the failure.

It is largely because of my strong friends (and family) that I had strength to finally transition. I knew at least a few people had my back. For a long time I didn’t believe anyone had my back. I really don’t know how to transition from this feeling of never being able to do enough to succeed, being to scared of it, other than to just do it. Just transition. “Choose Life” to use the immortal words of Rent Boy from Trainspotting! Life is not those scared voices in your head. Life is out there waiting for you to participate.

So, I am singing in a choir, dipping my toe back into working. I am excited about these things not just because I need money, and some new friends, but for some structure to my days, weeks. 

The format of this blog has really fallen off what my goal was, to detail moments, good and bad in my transition, my life. A lot of what I have written in recent months is more about clearing my head, putting my thoughts, good and bad out there. The ‘Field Notes’ are more about mapping my mind and emotional state than what I am doing and encountering in my days. One thing about that, is that the longer I get into Transition, the less negativity I have had to deal with as I pass more (which is a term I loathe, but it is happening, regardless, as most people don’t know anything about trans* folk, just the male/female binary) and I am meeting more ‘new’ people who do not have all those years of me as Joe standing in their way of knowing, accepting Josie. There is less conflict, and I think a lot of that comes from peeling myself out of retail. I am stoked to make a few bucks at VIFF but not if I get a lot of retail strife.

I have been blogging since the late nineties, before there was a ‘word’ for it (blog) and the blogs always end up with me whinging and trying to work out why I am whinging, a public diary entry, more than an account of time spent. This is why this time around, I separated the transition Blog, and other kinds of writing. People looking for movie reviews, maybe don’t care to read about my transition, or vice versa.

So, what’s next? I haven’t really a clue except that I still have the desire to figure out how to sell myself and my art. I do not have the skills and lack a lot of the ambition. But, I am hoping to keep trying, to learn some of the moxie. I can talk a good game. A life spent giving up, does not train you to be an entrepreneur.

There is another quote going around attributed to various movie directors, “Directors make a movie (or storytellers tell a story) and then proceed to remake that story/movie the rest of their lives.” I grok that, hard. But sometimes you need to break free and try new methods. I hope I can learn to unlearn all the crap I have piled atop my art.

I am sick of the fakeness of ‘work.’ As if it in and of itself were some laudable goal. I know I am lucky to have had the mostly cushy jobs I have had. We live in a world where people do back breaking labour all day, and barely get compensated... I know of no employers, large or small who care more about their employees, than the money the employees make for them. The money is all. Without that there is no job, either. Catch 22. The only times I have felt valued as a ‘worker’ was occasionally as a care-giver, and as an esl teacher. You know, jobs, where you really are contributing to something other than sales, and even then only once in a while, was I able to feel like I was doing something worthwhile.

I have no legacy other than maybe my art, and I really hate the idea that I am making money for someone else, while not being able to afford my own life without going into debt. I will likely never in my life again be free of that shackle, but maybe I can be free of the one tying me to doing ‘work’ that has no value to me.

When I have more of a plan, or I have eased into a more concrete writing/art/working schedule, my wee goal is to post here more often, and less about the thoughts rattling around the fears that run my brain, and more about what I am doing to tame those fears and create something out of them. I really feel like I am getting repetitive in my posting. But that is where my life is at, no matter what strides I might make, I feel like I am on a treadmill.

Baby steps, Josie. Baby steps.

By the way, an addendum, if you aren't using chrome with blogger, google limits the functionality of other browsers to do simple things like drag and dropping pictures, where you want them while posting. Seriously lame and petty thing thing to do. make chrome better and I won't have to use a different browser to start with.


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