Field Notes In/On Transition
Too Many Ideas
I post a lot of ‘my plans’ on my blog here, or on facebook. My dreams to craft, write, paint and do low key ‘jobs’ on my way to financial stability. Sure I’d love to make a lot of money. But I would rather work less, earn less than be stressed all the time or work 60 hour weeks at something that is just a job. Occasionally I do a bit of ‘background performer’ work: an extra on a TV show or a movie, though it being Vancouver, I have only so far done TV. The other day was the first time, though that I got to keep my makeup on, and I think I have a shot of actually being seen in the final product. Cross your fingers. I seem to get cut from things.
Anyway, one of the problems with me making plans is that I don’t do well with plans, I am not organized. I am scared to death of every job I apply for stating in bold letters: “must be highly organized, detail oriented,” etc and so on. This is not me. I could lie about it, and have, but usually that bites me in the ass. I have too many plans, too many ideas to be ‘organized.’ That said I am good at doing what needs to get done, but almost always down to the wire. Give me a task, but don’t make me think up the tasks and schedule them , and so on. I don’t know how many lists I have of, ‘how my day should be scheduled.’ I write these schedules, feel good about myself, and proceed to just do the things whenever I damned well feel like, anyway. I do make good use of my iPad calendar to help me remember appointments and so on. But, as far as scheduling my life: not so much. For example, writing this blog has gone from something where initially I told cute or not so cute stories of my daily life ‘In Transition,’ to internal monologues about my state of mind, body, or finances, writ large for everyone or no one to read.
I have had a hard time getting the final pre-submission edits done on my memoir, as I am spending time every day doing the mandated work search to be able to stay on welfare. Not that I want to stay on welfare. I want to be able to spend my days working on my book, which has potential to make me some money, but you know, it does not count as work by welfare or any other helping hand organization. Only normative 9-5 jobs are permitted to be looked for. So I am trying to find something like that. My heart though is not in it. I want to somehow get paid for something that is mine, my work. Not for someone else’s product, or bureaucratic busy work.
So yeah, I have these plans, keep writing not just my memoir, but get some of the zillion other things I could be trying to sell edited to readability, sell more books. Sell more Strawgirl dolls, calendars, finish that cookbook (no really I have an idea for a cookbook/zine) and other crafty projects. Where I want to get myself, and really this is my dream life... Is to open a Patreon account, and do enough crafts, writing, videos that I can start earning a couple hundred bucks a month, or more of course, as well as selling maybe in an Etsy store, some of my crafts, prints and so on. Kindle singles and ebooks for my back catalogue, which to be honest, needs some real work to be readable, but damn if the ideas aren’t all great.
So, how does my typical day work to help me get to this place? Well, most mornings, I am up between 8am and 9am, I break fast with coffee, toast, occasionally a bigger breakkie. While coffee is brewing, I do morning ablutions, including making the bed, taking my hormones, etc and so on. Then I check the email, responding to those very few that aren’t junk mail or ads that I always look at but never buy from. I update my availability online, for my ‘Backgrounder Performer’ work. I surf facebook, play my scrabble and words with friends moves to ongoing games mostly, that I have been playing for years.
Sometimes I get sucked in to the internet too long, but eventually I do some job searching, though most of the jobs I actually apply for are ones that friends post to my wall on facebook, or message me with. I recently got 6 pms, or posts to my wall, each, about two different positions that many of my friends thought would be a good fit. My friends know me, as I indeed liked the descriptions of both jobs. I may or may not have found these links on my own, but folks are always keeping an eye out for me it seems.
So, some days I will then work on changing the resume slightly for the job, as well as whipping off a quick individual cover letter. The other day, one job I really liked, for a theatre company, they actually notified me that they got my resume, of course stating only interview candidates will be contacted further. But even that small automated touch, to me, makes me like the business, more. Most places you send your resume, even when you follow up, there is no assurance anyone has seen it. When interviews only come every hundred resumes or so, any acknowledgement is great. There is so little casual politeness towards job-seekers these days. Everyone is all business. Fuck that.
I am not pro business. I am pro eking out a living, and spending the rest of my time on things I love, and people I love. Person to person networking is really the way to find employment, or gigs, as I kind of call any job now, just a gig, like playing a couple of shows in a bar, for a musician. There is an opportunity for me to earn some money helping a friend with her etsy store. Who knows if we will be able to sell the stuff we are selling, but it looks promising. As I was uploading photos of the vintage teacups and so on, I really saw myself doing that kind of thing fairly regularly as a way to earn, or potentially earn. I enjoyed the process, researching the items, pricing, writing a bit of description. Yet last year when I tried doing copywriting, I found it stifling, and the deadlines annoying. Give me my own time to do something, and I will do it. Stand over my shoulder, even via email, and I am out.
To me, even though it hasn’t yet paid off, this is satisfying ‘work.’ It is not steady, no guarantees, but yet it was more rewarding to me, than I thought it would be. It makes me want to up my craft game, and start selling my dolls and prints online. But I also have to find time to get the writing going, and to start making my video blogs.
This is obviously not a video blog, which I promised last time. It’s coming. I don’t plan things, like I say. I let them steep, like tea, then when they are ready, I do them. This happens fast enough and often enough to not be ‘waiting for inspiration.’ When I was at my peak of memoir writing, I was only sitting and writing for half a ‘work day.’ The rest of the time was thinking, concentrating and focussing my story in my mind. I wrote an average of 3000+ words a day for several months. When my finances became dire though, the creative work ethic started to slide. If I can’t spend most of the day scheming my projects, but instead worrying about money, productivity grinds to a halt.
So, what am I working on, or have on the back burner, because of committing to doing the welfare job search as best that I can? Well, of course there is:
- Finishing the memoir, new self imposed deadline for sample chapters: Feb 1st-ish.
- Finishing my Zine/cookbook with a secret title
- making more Strawgirl dolls, and some funky doll clothes for Strawgirl
- creating a few of these new dolls (non Strawgirl) that I want to try making
- get at least a few of my stories, or story chapters in good enough shape to be kindle singles.
- Using the online printshop I used for my calendars, make some more, mugs and other Strawgirl ephemera to sell.
- make some money helping my friend from choir selling vintage china online
- get a part time job to shore up money from either wellie, or other ventures
- work on my pitch to get grants or maybe Out Tv to help my ‘big idea’ happen, this summer.
Things I need to do so that all the things above happen in the organic low key way that I envision them all happening.
- write everyday, not just memoir, but whatever is working in my brain. I have new novel ideas pretty much daily.
- keep blogging, start doing video blogs at least weekly.
- trip to Victoria, as a travel blog pilot episode or episodes.
- job search a little bit every day, send out some actual resumes every week, and try like hell not to be discouraged that no one ever responds.
- spend a bit of time each day on painting and or crafting.
- go to workshops, on crafting, do more sketching of the things being made, and painted
- get more and more savvy about social media in order to sell things, and myself, you are never on top of it. Always something new with social media, keep learning every day.
So yeah, check that out! Lists.
Odds are I won’t recall those lists, tomorrow, but I am already thinking about them, and scheming, cogitating, but maybe not meditating on them. I just need to be doing more. Balance the thinking, the scheming with the actual doing of all the things. Sometimes when you have a million schemes, just undertaking any one of them feels like a letdown, like you don’t have enough chutzpah to pull it off, so you do nothing, or settle for something easier and less satisfying. In the past, the latter has led me to each and every long term job I have had.
I need to stop being paralyzed by my own potential. But that is easier said than done, when you notice how big your credit card bill is, and how little income you have. I get paralyzed. I have learned though to accept people helping me, when they thoughtfully do so. I don’t need nor appreciate cheerleading, I appreciate genuine concern, and people listening to me. Which I have recently received so much of, that it’s overwhelming and has improved my self image ten fold. Before New Year’s I had a ‘bad tape loop’ of depression and yes, ‘suicidal thoughts’ going through my mind for weeks on end, as I dealt with and only fantasized the worst from applying for welfare, and being as broke as I am. People gave me small jobs to do, like cat sitting, and some cooking, and some folks very generously gifted me cash, food, and more: LOVE. I felt loved. Those negative tape loops, self destructive thoughts are gone, hopefully for the indefinite future.
You notice how little this blog focusses on my transition these days, on the day to day of being Trans? I guess, I am not so self conscious anymore, and as well of course, not working and dealing the public all day leads to less conflict, less of me having to educate and do folks emotional labour all day. I have found working on the occasional movie set, no one, other than a couple of other trans folks I have met, have ever brought it up, either I pass, or no one really cares, which to me is the best kind of ‘passing.’
I spent so much of my early transition dealing with people’s misperceptions, and being misgendered, but as I stopped the retail job, and have been on HRT longer and longer, becoming a finer hand at natural looking makeup, I don’t have even a quarter of the ‘Trans related stress’ that I had even a year ago.
Now I am just Josie, (soft ’s’) not Trans Josie, definitely not Joe, or Jo. The friend that I am working the Etsy store with calls me ‘Jos’ (say Josie but leave off the eee sound) for short; and yesterday while I was having dinner with an old friend I hadn’t seen much of in years, was inadvertently calling me Jo(e), I mentioned this ‘Jos,’ which I am digging so much as short for Josie, and she took to it, like a duck to water, calling me Jos, the rest of the time we spent together.
Maybe I don’t ‘pass’ as much as I think I do. But damn if it doesn’t feel good to think so, despite my opposition to the idea that I or anyone ‘needs’ to pass. People should be non-judgemental about any identity, that isn’t appropriative or harmful, which being Trans is not, despite what frightened stupid people will tell you.