I don’t need them. I don’t want them. If you call yourself an ally, good for you. Gold star. Please fuck off.
What I need are friends, and I have those. I’m always willing to make more. But I choose them. They do not appoint themselves. When I see people call themselves allies, I shrink away. Only recently have I been able to put my finger on why.
It’s fucking demeaning to have a stranger walk up and declare themselves your ally. Even in the best of intentions, it hurts. It presumes that I can’t find my own people to watch my back, that I need self-proclamed allies to help me. It erases my chioce to have, or not have, a relationship with you, because you have declared the shape our relationship from the outset, without negotiations, on the basis of me being queer alone.
And I fucking hate you for it.
Don’t be an ally. Be a friend. I know, I know, being a friend is harder; you have to see me as a person. Or maybe we don’t click. Maybe you can’t stand me. That’s fine. Sometimes people don’t work together. You don’t have to be a Friend to All Trannies. What you can do instead is just try not to be an asshole. Vote for our rights when they’re on the chopping block. And for fuck’s sake, don’t out us to your friends to show how open minded you are for hanging out with trans people.
Just…just don’t be a shithead. Seriously. That’s all I want. That’s all I need.
One of the problems of transition is that it is expensive. Another problem is that it can make some of us unemployable, and seriously retard the income of those of us who can land jobs. We’re not exempt from the other costs of living, either. These problems nest neatly within each other.
Today I learned that I am several months past due on my student loan payments. I have no one to blame but myself. I conservatively estimate that my current debt obligations, if I don’t take any action to reduce my monthly payment, will top 400 dollars a month for at least the next 6 months. This is assuming I give up on my plan to pay off my credit card by the end of the year and go back to minimum payments.
I want to buy furniture. Soon I will need to buy new clothes. In 3 months, I will be too old to stay on my mother’s insurance, and will have to buy my own. I also need to get renter’s insurance and rebuild my savings.
So what to do about this all? First, keep my job. No matter how much I don’t want to go back to work when my weekend ends, it is my lifeline, and I am grateful for it. Second, reduce my monthly debt load. I think I can consolidate both my major student loans and then extend my repayment horizon out to 25 years. This is more expensive in the long term, but I can switch back to a more aggressive repayment plan later, when I’ve secured better paying employment. Lastly, and this one hurts, I may have to take a hard look at delaying further electrolysis sessions until I’m more sure of my finances. 60 dollars an hour is a mighty big commitment at my level of employment, and my beard has always been light and sparse enough that daily shaving can keep visible stubble under control. A new wardrobe will need to be delayed as long as possible.
Strangely, I feel invigorated by contemplating this. Six months ago, this would put me into a tail spin for a week. Today, it makes me start making a to-do list.
I think I’m getting better.
So I’m walking to and fro on my break at work, trying to track down something to snack on. I finally beat a vending machine into submission with the awesome power of my change scrounging capabilities and I’m walking back to my desk feeling pretty cocky.
There are two wet spots on my chest. I feel them, cold slimy dots on my nipples. This isn’t too unusual these days. Some warning instinct tells me to look down, and I see them — twin wet spots on my shirt the size of quarters.
So now I’m walking back to the desk with my mini bag of chips clutched to my chest so that my wrists can cover my nipples, and I try to make like I’m carrying it like that because I want to, like that’s how the cool kids do it. I twiddle my fingers to make it convincing. One of my co-workers stops me and comments that I’m not wearing my usual all-black ensemble. Laundry day, I blurt and shuffle past. Safely at my desk I whip my sweatshirt on and run the zipper up to my throat.
Goddamnit, boobs. You have betrayed me.
2011 was the worst year I’ve ever had. It seems cliche and self-pitying to recap the reasons why. For the past week I’ve been wrestling with how to write my year end roundup, to meet my obligation to be touching and profound at the turn of the year. Fuck it, I can’t. I’m just so tired. Tired of everything. Tired of the titantic struggles that marked my last three years: get into grad school, get a Master’s, survive being homeless, transition.
So this next year is one of modest ambitions. No big picture shit. No major life achivements. The goal of 2012 is to clean up the wreckage. I’ve finished tying off the bloody stump of my academic ambitions, and settled into a comfortably dead end job. Now I’m giong to learn how to keep my apartment clean. Learn how to cook at home five nights a week. Change my name. Get some new clothes. Little things. I don’t think I could survive another string of failures like the one I had between 2009 and 2011.
I need to be healthy, and to be healthy I need to get my life under control. I want that to be second nature. In my darker moments, I wonder if it ever can be. There are people who work here at the call center who have been doing this for ten or fifteen years. I’m scared of ending up like them. I’m terrified to think that even that might be too much to dream of.
Despite it all, I still harbor a great deal of ambition. I want to go places, and do things. I want to be someone who matters to the world. Even just a small part of it. I want to be more than a drone on the help line. But those are dreams for next year. First I have to conquer being a drone.
A new year brings with it the ritual of resolution, the time when we promise ourselves we will eat healthier, be nicer to animals, read more. That kind of thing.
Mine is “don’t kill yourself.”