Category Archives: volunteer work

I don’t think I like my job anymore.

I’ve had a few working meetings with my co-workers, and they all keep misgendering me.  It’s dreadful.  The really funny part? They’re all liberal hippie types. But they’re privileged liberals: white, cisgender, heterosexual, and not poor. They think they’re all enlightened and shit. But every single meeting is misgendering. Except my boss, although he’s clueless about how to fix it.  Seriously, when I told him today that I’m not attending the meetings anymore because of it (and would prefer to meet with him alone), he asked if he could have me attend the meeting by speakerphone so we could all discuss it.  That was both baffling and insulting.  The last meeting I went to, he announced in front of my co-workers that he’s sending everyone to sensitivity training because they talked about it (behind my back) and decided they want to improve.  That’s great, but he did it right in front of the people who were causing the problems.  It was humiliating.

The thing is, normally I don’t care what strangers call me; I know who I am, and I’m happy not being the manliest man on the planet, but these are people I spend hours with, and it makes me question myself even though logically I know it’s not right. Am I that girly? Does it mean I’m not trans enough? Like I said, I know logically that these thoughts are stupid, but I can’t help but think them. And it’s affecting my ability to do the job, and it’s also sent me into a bad bout of depression. Not cool.  I don’t want to quit, I believe in the project we’re doing together, but it’s making me really unhappy.  Maybe I should just quit…

Life update: a depression edition

When last I left off, I was about to head to the local mental health event.  I went, got there late, wound up not seeing anyone I knew except for one person I used to be friends with ages ago (and was very glad to see, and we’ll be hanging out some after I move).  So all that worry was for nothing.

Since then I’ve descended into a godawful depression, caused by school stress.  I got behind on my work, started freaking out about it, and that led to a vicious cycle that wound up with me hearing things: voices laughing and whispering about how I’d lost control, music that no one could hear but me, etc.  Plus panic attacks.  I saw my psychiatrist yesterday morning.  I went in telling her “I’m just stressed so there’s no need for anything but a refill on my meds,” but then she started asking questions about symptoms and I nearly started crying two different times because holy fuck, I’m more messed up than I thought I was.  She said she’d write a letter to my school disability office telling them I need an Incomplete for the term, so when I got home I emailed the office to say, “hey, I’m in crisis and my doctor will say so,” and they contacted my professor who agreed to give me the I.  You have no idea how relieved I was.  Am.  My sister, wonderful soul that she is, has been helping me get my research done for my term project and being extra-encouraging, despite having a full-time job and a family.  I don’t know what I did to deserve her.

So I’m taking this weekend to recover a little and work on packing boxes.  The movers are coming next Saturday to take our furniture over to the new apartment, so Mom and I have to bust our asses this week getting ready for them.  Mom’s lived in this house for 25 years, and we’re throwing out more stuff than we’re taking with us.  (I have very little here, but I’m helping her go through all her shit.)

I also need to get back in touch with the nonprofit director; I had warned him I had major school shit going on last week and this week, and now that I can breathe again I need to do some stuff with moving domains and registering a new one.

My niece is finding me super-useful as Knowledgeable Adult lately.  I’m not going to get into details, but she’s trying to find herself and I’m able to give advice about some things.  I’m also babysitting for my sister whenever she needs me, and generally I’m trying to be a good family member and help everyone as much as they’ve been helping me.  I’ve been saying ever since I got sick (17 years ago) that I’m lucky to have an excellent support network.  I’m glad I can give back some.

It’s 4:15 in the morning.  I’ve been awake all night.  Being crazy sucks.  Maybe I’ll try to get some homework done…

Publicly coming out as trans

I realized I was trans almost four years ago.  In that time I’ve been out to everyone online, my friends and family members, and the people at the yarn shop I went to when I was living 75 miles away from Hometown.  That’s it.

In a couple of hours I’m going to a rather large mental health awareness event, to help my new nonprofit group director work the registration table.  I agreed with no hesitation.  It wasn’t until about 10:00 last night that I realized that holy fuck, I’m coming out to the entire local mental health community.  I used to be pretty involved, as an activist and professional peer counselor.  My former boss and some co-workers will be there.  Some of my former clients might show up.  Future potential employers and co-workers will be there.  And everyone who knows me from Before will have to hear, “I’m Alex now.  I came out as transgender four years ago.”  And then there will be questions, which will be answered two ways: “When you get home, Google ‘trans 101’,” or “I’m sorry, that’s a very personal question.  It’s been nice seeing you.”

I am, naturally, terrified.  I’m doing it anyway, because I’ll have to come out to this community at some point if I’m going to be working in it again.  I won’t be alone — my nonprofit friends (who only know me as Alex and are very trans-friendly) will back me up, and my sister and her family will be there.  I doubt anyone will be rude to my face, because it’s a pretty liberal community.  But I am also prepared to (politely) say things like “it’s not my job to educate you” and “I don’t make comments about your masculinity/femininity, do I?”  I really don’t give a fuck about passing as a cis male; I’m a bit genderqueer anyway, and my gender identity/expression are none of their business so long as they use the correct name and pronouns and are respectful.

I do wish I’d had enough warning to get my hair cut first.  I’m a bit shaggy.  Yay for hair pomade, I guess.

Now, as to why I’m writing this at 5am: I haven’t slept.  At all.  I’m getting where I can’t sleep because of the Geodon dependency.  I spend the nights shaking and sweating, even if I take my meds on time, even with a Klonopin.  This can’t go on.  After my semester finishes (two weeks left!) I’m going to ask my pdoc to taper me off and put me on something else.  I’m really, really not looking forward to it, but it’s better than feeling like a junkie in need of a fix every night.

I’m going to take a shower and go get some breakfast or something.  I can’t just sit here twitching until it’s time for my morning meds.  (I can’t take them early, because then I’ll get the shakes even earlier in the evening.)

Volunteer job

I am officially the webmaster of a new mental health organization being set up here in town! Most of my work will be coordinating content, because the setup (get the domain name, install software, create email addresses) is easy as hell and I’ve done it a billion times. (I spent 10 years as a webmaster/web developer before I went crazypants, and I still own some domains, including this one of course.) I volunteered because they don’t have anyone to do that stuff, and I can do it in my sleep, so. They are delighted to have someone competent in the role, as they’ve talked to other people and there are a lot of people in the business who are good at tech but can’t communicate clearly or write site content (I’ve worked as a pro writer before, too.) So I laid out what they needed, what the costs would be, what I can do, what they need to get for me, etc. And they’re thrilled. (By “they” I mean the director and the board member I’ve interacted with.)

I’ve been tagged with doing social media stuff, too.  Which is cool.  I’m good at that.  Once we get the site going, set up I’ll start looking at Twitter and see if the director wants to Instagram pictures or anything.  (I’m already handling Facebook.  Started that the night I volunteered.)

There’s also going to be peer counselor training in a couple of months that I’m going to, because that’s my actual goal. The web stuff won’t take more than a couple hours a week once everything’s up and running, so I could still be a counselor a couple of afternoons a week without overexerting myself.

Now I just need to survive the next week — I’m moving AND writing a 12-page paper AND setting up their site, which has to happen ASAP — and I’ll be golden…