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School is for Healing

I’ve been coming to grips with some stuff about what I’m studying lately, which is largely that 1: I really enjoy machining, but 2: I do not believe that I am capable of being a manual machinist in a traditional shop and I don’t see that as my future. 

It’s a weird sentence to write, sitting at a table in the student center waiting for my next class, but I haven’t been able to convince myself otherwise. I don’t have the physical stamina to operate heavy machinery, or the emotional stamina to be the only trans person in a shop. It’s hard enough being the only trans person in my english class. 

I’ve stopped and asked myself a lot over the last three semesters What am I even doing here? Why am I doing this to myself? What’s the point?  

I asked these questions before therapy today and then talked about it a bit at the end. Why do I keep going if all it seems to be doing is dredging up pain and trauma I haven’t dealt with and didn’t know about?  

And the answer is because the only way I can heal from the lies I was told about my worth, my abilities, about college and school, about learning, and teachers is to expose myself to it.

The only way I can recover is to face the terror every day and learn through experience that everything I was told for so long is bullshit.

I’m at school to learn what school is like, to learn how to learn, to learn how to navigate organized education, to learn that not every teacher is my mom reincarnated. I’m here to force myself to face a field of unknown mines and survive it. 

If I’m lucky I’ll finish my certificate, I’ll get an associates in something eventually, a nice perk would be placating capitalism. 

But I’m here to heal myself through exposure. Apparently. 

Maybe that’s valid too. 

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Depression and Therapy and Burning Man (maybe)

It’s been a long month of more new scary things. Started a job being a glorified receptionist with the bonus skill set of being able to translate people’s computer problems into useful information for the IT people (and no, I don’t get paid more for that skill). Had housing fall through on me twice, the second iteration of which I am still currently fighting to get my deposit back. My potential roommate has been unreachable for the last two weeks so I’m starting a Small Claims thing on Monday and hopefully someone can find her. The lease demands she pay me back within two days if the move-in didn’t occur, so legally, she’s obligated, it’s just the tracking down that’s the problem.

I’ve been in an awful depressed spiral because of that + utter stress of a new job where people are grumpy about their computers at me all day and the hours are not conducive to my mental health or productivity (and the company documents I was handed use air quotes around mental health, which, as someone with intense mental health problems, does not make me feel safe at all). I managed to push through September, I did everything I needed, I started a job, I got to work every day, and was chained to the phone doing the best I could working between sobbing from the sheer overwhelmingness of everything.

I started seeing a therapist on Thursday (funnily enough the first day in like 2 weeks I was able to get through without crying or intensely passively wishing for death) and I told her about the overwhelmingness of everything and got to hand her my brain and be like, here, you hold this now. Someone who is not me is aware of the mess that is happening inside and is equipped to figure it out.

So I started off by explaining everything that’s happened since May. I’m trans, I’m divorced, a different partner broke up with me shortly after I moved here, I only recently got a job (that inevitably wants my soul), and even working full time I don’t make enough to afford rent, and I don’t have benefits or PTO. The stress is eating away at me and pulling at my soul through my back and everything compounds in on itself and I can’t handle it alone anymore.

And she looked at me and was like, so it seems like a lot of new things have just happened all at once and you’re doing a lot of transitioning right now and it’s stressful.

And I was like, yes.

 

It’s not bad. Just new. and a lot. and I can manage new.

 

I feel so far away from everything I want to do, but as I listed them out (CRHE, art, tech, learning shit) and she asked me if I’d stopped or been unable to do those things, I realized I hadn’t, the capacity just changed. It’s just new and adjusting. I haven’t stopped.

 

I feel like I’m in a rut or a dead-end. I need to forge my own path out. I know what I want and don’t want, I don’t know how to get there yet.

I don’t want to stay at my new job forever, the stress is a lot and not worth the not-being-able-to-pay-rent-or-get-sick deal. I want to work somewhere that I and my health are valued, and that pays me enough to afford to live out here. Somewhere I don’t wake up dreading. Because while I am fucking fantastic at my job being a translator receptionist, I prefer to not have the entire bay area and misc parts of California thrust upon me in an afternoon. I am a hacker and I can singlehandedly take care of the entire internet-based infrastructure of an organization. I am full-stack for myself and that’s a useful skill.

Taking messages for problems doesn’t give you the same feeling that solving a problem does, either.

Anyway, what I’m saying is, I need something better, but at least I have a stepping stone now, and I know that I have a lot more to offer than what I’m being paid (poorly) for. I don’t know how to make that happen yet.

 

She asked me if I liked the Bay and I told her I’d never intended to be here, I just wound up here because it was a place available to me when I needed it. But now that I’m here, I have that same feeling I had about Burning Man – there’s something for me here, something I need to do or be a part of, and I don’t know what it is, but it’s not time to leave yet. She asked me if I found that at Burning Man and if it was intuition or not – it was, on both counts. I found out a lot about my own strength at Burning Man, a lot about myself, I let go of a lot of things and it was what I needed. I don’t know what the next step out here looks like, but that same instinct is keeping me here, so I’m going to follow that and see what happens.

She was impressed that I was so in-tune with myself. I guess that’s what happens when you self-therapy until you just can’t anymore.

 

I’m writing this now from my other partner’s couch, watching the sun start to rise, and freezing. Life is fucking terrifying but I think I’m going to make it after all.

 

I made it out of that spiral, I can make it out again.

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Before Bed

Every night before I fall asleep (somewhat fitfully) for the last few days I’ve had a running scenario/monologue. This isn’t really new to me, but for some reason it’s been fairly consistent the last few days which is somewhat odd.

I’m a guest on my favorite podcast (nerdist) and we’re talking about something and it always goes back to how I haven’t been to college which leads to me then explaining in detail the scenario of why that is, which leads me to trying to figure out if it’s okay that I don’t have a degree or any formal education after high school. Besides the fact that job odds are ever stacked in the opposite of my favor as far as pay goes – which is for many other reasons than just college, admittedly.

I don’t even know that I think college would make me a better person. I’m basically making myself a job by doing art, web-development stuff, both producing and acting in separate web series(es?), and trying to be healthy/fit. As far as time goes, I constantly need to evaluate how I spend it, and I am doing really cool things with it (in my opinion). I know how to learn, and I’m good at learning.

Honestly, as much as I think about having a steady paying job for myself, I’m not actually looking for one, because I’m enjoying doing “Niche Shoppe job” with my time because of the loveliness of my husband (who enables me to do that, and I don’t take it for granted – I try not to, anyway).

But something in the back of my mind is always there. Things from my past that I haven’t rooted out yet. I feel like college would somehow be a culmination of an inner need to tell myself that I can do it, and I don’t have to be the person I thought I was “supposed” to be, and that I’m not turning into that (obviously, the person I thought I was “supposed” to be would look absolutely nothing like me, and she’d have bad hair).

But I don’t have the money. Or the time, frankly. As much as I would love to someday, and may make that a goal in the future, I have other things calling my name – establishing myself, and my series(es), and my art, and taking care of me, and proving to myself that just because I don’t clock in at 9 and out at 5 and don’t actually get a paycheck (yet?) that what I’m doing is just as relevant; and just because I occasionally work in a bathrobe and do things from the comfort of our apartment doesn’t mean that I’m the definition of a “housewife”.

Because I’m really not.

I’m looking at you, dinner.

And dishes, I hate you.

With a passion.

 

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