Like most of the world, my life has changed drastically since COVID-19. I live in Illinois, and the stay in place order has been active for a week now. Even before that my workplace closed its offices, forcing me to work from home. It’s been a week since I even left the house and honestly it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in regards to my being transgender. I was unemployed for six months, and even that was easier to deal with than the last two weeks.
I did something recently that I didn’t think I would ever do again. I put on a swimsuit and swam. It was one of the scariest things I’ve done since coming out as transgender. I was in the relative safety of my close family, but even then it was hard to show myself in a swimsuit.
I’ve been using Google Photos to backup all of the terrible cell phone photos I’ve taken since 2012. There’s maybe 50 photos of me before I started transitioning in 2017. Most of the photos are of pets and random things. Now there’s a huge collection of selfies that document my entire transition. At least once a week, usually 3-4 times a week, I’ll take a photo of myself. Either at my desk, in bed, on my couch, or in my car. Wherever the mood strikes me. That’s not something that ever happened before transitioning.
I’ve been catching up on a lot of the back catalogue of leftist YouTube personalities lately, and I finally worked up the courage to watch Philosophy Tube’s video on Suicide and Mental Health. It’s a rough video to watch, especially as someone who’s been there, has dealt with those feelings, and still deals with those feelings. However, it did convince me to write this post, despite having sat on it for months before finally posting it.
I’ve been in and out of many progressive, social justice aware, LGBT, and transgender communities throughout my adult life, specifically leading up to and throughout my transition. Some of those communities came and went, others are still around but I grew out of them, and some I’m still a part of but only visit when I’m in the right mood. The only community that I’ve remained a part of through everything is a small group of best friends that all met each other in random corners of the internet, only to eventually settle in the midwest, and all come out as some form of LGBT.
I often talk about pronouns in this blog, but I’m not sure just how much I’ve been able to emphasize how important they, and inclusive language in general, are in our day to day lives. Of course this is an English blog so I can’t speak for other languages or members of the transgender community whose primary language isn’t English. Every language is different, and I can’t imagine how hard it must be for transgender individuals in countries where the primary language is extremely gendered.
Gender euphoria is the opposite of dysphoria. Where dysphoria is the distress and discomfort felt by not fitting in the gender that suits you best, euphoria is the elation and rightness you feel in those moments where everything aligns just perfectly. I never heard the words gender euphoria until long after I started my transition, and to me that’s really sad because if it had been something that more people talk about I might have realized who I was far sooner.
I already talked about my excitement about starting fresh at a new job. It’s been just over two months since then and now I want to talk about how my expectations compared to what actually happened. Along with being exciting and wonderful, it’s been a long and stressful two months. I’ve been moving to a new place, preparing my old one for sale, and getting acclimated in a job that truly feels like I’m being thrown into the deep end. The new job has been amazing regardless of the stress that has come along with it. For the first time I feel like I belong as a part of a team rather than either a cog in a machine or a lone developer doing my own thing.
I wrote a lot about Pride last year, about my perceived failures, and about how hard it was to take pride in myself but how that was changing. Unfortunately, the rest of the past year was marred by even more failure. That feeling of pride and being happy with who I was unfortunatley short lived.
My divorce was finalized, I lost my job, and it took me six months to find a new one. In that period of unemployment depression set in deeper than it had in a long time. It didn’t help that I couldn’t afford all my medication since I didn’t have insurance. As it turns out Abilify is an amazing drug, and no they’re not paying me to say that. Though I wish they would. Depression led to my house becoming a depression nest. My finances took a nosedive. Things got really bad.
It’s been two months since my fresh start. My new job is going awesome, I have a new house, my old one is getting cleaned up for sale, and my sleep schedule has returned to something resembling a functioning individual. I’ll talk more about how things are going in my next blog post, but today I want to focus on Pride, the event.