Things have gotten slightly better since my last post, and I’ve been experiencing more changes!
My voice totally dropped! After my appointment in the Twin Cities a few weeks ago we increased my dose and now I’m finally seeing new things. It’s really, really refreshing because I’ve been feeling so stagnant all summer.
I spent a week down at my Auntie Caroles to re-charge, and had a nice time with her and the many cat companions she has.
After that I went back to Fargo-Moorhead to see my college friends and go to Fargo-Moorhead Pride 2016. It felt really wonderful to see my friends and actually “be seen” or “visible” as a transgender man. I’m very proud that I marched in the parade alongside my Trans Brothers.
I’m part of an online transmen group on social media that’s a small support group for guys like me, and it was really cool to meet them all in person. I felt so accepted. After college, I had hit a really bad post-academia depression and believed I was no longer part of the Fargo-Moorhead community. My visit last month showed me the opposite and that I still am part of it. I intend to visit monthly. My women’s studies professor even invited me to do a colloquium about growing up Trans-gender in Rural NoDak, so I’ll be doing that in October.
My depressive episode cost me my job. My position got terminated one month ago because I was failing to maintain productivity and a good attitude. I used to be able to hide my depression better and at least be functional–but it was just too much and has been impacting my relationship as well.
I had a falling out a few times with my Significant Other(my depression just makes everything worse.), and I stayed at my Moms for a couple nights–which was a big mistake. My mom pulled numerous guilt trips on me, and informed me that her and my father are “grieving the loss of their daughter,” and that they “failed me” along with my other sibling and cousin(whom they raised as well). That was incredibly hurtful and detrimental to my mental well-being. (How could they say they ‘failed me’ when I graduated Magna Cum Laude, have won awards for my films, and am a published writer of many articles and poetry? It’s not my fault I have bipolar disorder. It’s not my fault I’ve dealt with trauma throughout my life, it’s nothing to be ashamed of to be a quarter native, and it’s not my fault I’m transgender. What IS my “fault” is how I held myself accountable and took the steps I needed to heal and learn about what I can do to better cope—and by doing so I’ve succeeded in many things despite all the many challenges I have. Yet, “they failed me.”) And while I understand that people will deal with my transition and feel their own feelings about it, I do not need to tolerate being shamed or made to feel guilty for finally starting to really live a life I never thought possible, and actually be happy. I’m maintaining healthy boundaries for the most part, but it’s still excruciatingly hard.
(The intersections that I deal with my parents are ableism(they think they did something ‘wrong’ to ’cause’ my illnesses, and that my illnesses mean they’ve failed me), racism(I deal with a lot of “i’m not racist but…” and also having my native identity almost completely erased from my upbringing and hearing oppressive things toward native communities), and willful ignorance. I’ve tried talking to them about my life in a way they would understand, but they don’t listen or are even interested. I’ve given them links to resources to read about bipolar disorder, cptsd, adoption trauma, racism, etc, but they won’t read. When I told my mom that, she said that she didn’t have to read about any of that because she’s “living it” by having to “deal with” my “shit.”) It is a very toxic situation and I’m beyond frustrated. I’m 28 years old, and I don’t know how to find out my credit score or rating, I don’t know how to pay bills, I don’t know how to budget, I don’t know how to be a functional working adult–and in that way, then yes, my parents “failed me” in that they never, EVER, taught me to be independent, but rather have made me constantly dependent on them. This is changing, and the more I assert my independence, the more resistance I deal with from them. It’s a very toxic, codependent mess, and because I’m struggling so hard financially I have to maintain ties–Ideally, I need a break. And while I am grateful for the financial help, it is often used as a tool of power over me.
Losing my job was very hard on me. Despite the fact that I really didn’t want to be there, I didn’t think it would impact my mental health as much as it did. It was very difficult after having completed college only to be paid less for physical labor.It’s really hard to be ‘happy’ when I was making less than 600 dollars a month, all of which went to food, gas, trips to the cities for trans health care, medical bills, and testosterone–with none left for me to save at all.
However, losing my job has a silver-lining. I put together my Film Reel and I finished my CV. I also sent in my application as a pop culture critic fellowship at Bitch Media (I will hear back sometime in December), and I began to study for 6-8 hours a day for the GRE:
I’m going to be applying to grad school here: http://rtf.utexas.edu/graduate/ma-media-studies and a couple other schools. I am really hoping to get into this program, though.
I’ve also finally gotten around to getting my name changed on my drivers license and bank card :
It was very anxiety-inducing to do so. When I went to the DMV with the documents the woman at the counter was all, “Oh, marriage name change, got it….” then she looked at my document and her sunny demeaner changed into really uncomfortable. She still remained polite to me though. When I was asked by her and my bank about “why the name change,” I simply just said, “I just wanted to change my name,” and I left it at that. My instincts told me to say that and to not say, “Oh, because I’m a transman,” because here in Bismarck, North Dakota, that isn’t the safest thing—plus I still am not quite passing yet, and the gender marker on my ID is still F.
After spending 100+ dollars, I finally received my Substitute Teaching License!
I’m still waiting to hear back about my application status so I can start subbing as soon as possible and make money for myself.
While I was in Fargo, I realized how much of a community of brothers close to me really helps my dysphoria and emotional well-being. To be honest, I have very little support here in Bismarck. My partner can only handle so much (and it’s probably better for both us if I move out. I may do that as soon as I have the money–still be together, but not live together.)
I made a ‘secret’ group on facebook and emailed around–hopefully I’ll meet some people here in Bismarck-Mandan.
My use of Rogaine on my face is starting to show….a little bit anyway:
I’m also gearing up to try and make it to the Midwest Pop Culture Conference in Chicago this coming October. I submitted my abstract under the impression that my school would fund me as an Alum to go–but since graduation, that did not fall through and I was already accepted to go to the conference. I’m raising money, and my parents are helping me with a round trip train ticket, and my Women’s Studies professor and a few other friends and asking around to their Chicago friends to find me a place to stay. I really hope this happens, because they put me as the Panel Chair in the Masculinities in Popular Culture presentations, and it’s such an honor to go. I really hope I will be able to go. I’m currently waiting to hear back from the Executive chair to find out more options. Fingers crossed, and if you are moved to help me, you can find out more details here: https://www.gofundme.com/23n59ss My sincerest and deepest thanks.
Despite all of the stresses that is going on around me and so many crossroads to choose from I still remain hopeful and resilient that everything will work out the way that it is supposed to. Hope and courage are some of the things I’m cultivating more of.
Talk to you all next month!