Reality sets in.

Today is my last day as a bus operator with my current employer. I put in my resignation notice earlier this month when it was becoming increasingly clear to me that it was time to move on. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I should stick it out, or make it a year or two years. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I’m being overly hasty in my decision making process.

None of those accusations are true.

At the very least, the point remains that I am an adult and it’s well and beyond time that I can make my own choices as to my career path. I put a lot of thought into it, into whether or not I could stick it out, before deciding that it was in my best interest not to try to. I learned a lot while I’ve been with Metro, about driving buses, about interacting with the public, but most importantly about myself. The things in this post are just a few of the reasons I’m leaving.

I learned I absolutely hate the uniform pants. They’re made of an itchy polyester fabric that I have had nothing but problems wearing. Polyester doesn’t breathe, which is a particular problem here in California where the weather tends to be on the warmer side. The uniform requirements are probably one of the things that contributed to my choice to not stay at Metro any longer. I thought that I was going to be able to cope with the polyester pants, but I was wrong.

I’m looking forward with my next job (which is mostly lined up and a subject for another post) to a more relaxed dress and appearance requirements than what I’ve had to deal with in the past. I’m looking forward to being able to wear clothing that I already have instead of finding out that there’s an expectation to sink hundreds of dollars into uniform clothing. One of the first things I’m going to do this week is go and get my hair cut and coloured— I am planning on purple and possibly teal. The rule that Metro has against supposedly “unnatural” hair colour and style has been stifling. (Some time in another post I should probably write about the general culture of “if you look like that you’ll never get a job” and the impact that it has had on my generation, but again, I’m getting side-tracked here.)

I learned that I really can learn the script for interacting with people. It’s a good thing to be able to do, but just because I can learn the script doesn’t mean that using it doesn’t absolutely exhaust me. I’ve always been an introvert. The constant repetition of interacting with people while driving the bus was wearing in all of the worst ways. Moreover, it took a toll on my interactions in the rest of my life.

Work was taking all of the energy and leaving nothing for anything creative. Work was also taking all of the energy and ability to have a conversation and interact with people. At the end of the day (and only working part time, my days weren’t actually that long) there was nothing left. I would get home and it would be at a point where I couldn’t easily have a conversation with my parents; I couldn’t stand the sound of voices and I couldn’t figure out how to make words come out of my mouth.

One of the most frequent interactions that I had with people on the bus was the constant question, “Are you a boy or a girl?” It was followed shortly thereafter by, “Are you even old enough to drive this bus?” or “You don’t look old enough to be driving a bus.”

Although I am aware that I’m not going to escape those sort of microaggressions entirely by leaving this job, there will be less of them. That’s important to me, too.

So now it is time to move on to the next adventure. After I post this, I’m getting dressed, going to work, and going to drive the route for the last time. This evening I will turn in the items that are issued by work, and leave the property for the last time. Tomorrow I’ll call the recruiter I’ve been working with from the trucking company, and get the ball rolling.

Here’s to the road ahead.

Reality sets in.

Feelings and commercialisation.

Today is Valentine’s Day, otherwise known as the day in which the internet abounds with cheesy rhymes and outpouring of mostly romantic feelings.

roses are red
violets are blue
this is a poem
I think.

The holiday can be difficult for a lot of people, for a variety of different reasons. Maybe you’re asexual or aromantic or maybe you’re just not involved in a romantic relationship right now. Maybe you’re still getting over a break-up. Maybe the relationship that you’re in is abusive and you’re trying to get out of it. There are so many maybes here, but I think that is enough to start with.

And then on top of all of this along comes this holiday all over the television and radio that encourages people to show their significant other how much they love them! But wait, how are we supposed to show them?

Since you asked… the media would have you believe that love is expressed by spending money. We are spurred to buy cards, to buy jewelry, to show him or her just how much you care. And the clear subtext is that if you are not able to make this monetary effort, or if you do not make this monetary effort for any reason, you clearly don’t care enough. It’s plain wrong and distinctly untrue, but the subtext is there nonetheless and pervasive enough that it is yet another one of the pressures on people who live with financial stress.

So I’m going to divert from the narrative here and reiterate that it is entirely acceptable and okay to not be able to spend money on someone else just because a Hallmark holiday says that you should. It doesn’t mean you love them or care about them any less. And there are a lot of expressions of care that do not require extra expenditures, like a nice night watching movies at home with a nice dinner, or if you cohabitate, offering to do a chore that the other person dislikes doing but does anyway. There are so many things that do not involve spending money that is allocated to something else in the budget.

If you do care about someone, the best thing to do is to just tell them (in which I am a gigantic hypocrite but that’s probably material for another post once I have all these pesky feelings figured out). Don’t just tell them on Valentine’s Day, though, or when you feel obligated to tell them. Tell them every day, or every week, or when you go to bed, or when you wake up— but maybe not all of those.

Or maybe yes all of those. Whatever works for you.

Feelings and commercialisation.

The not so simple answer.

As stereotypical as it sounds, I have pretty much always known that I am not a girl. Or at least, as long as I can easily remember, and I really don’t have very many concrete memories before when I was around eight years old. From what I can remember, I was never as comfortable being a girl, or with most typically feminine things.

From middle through high school stumbling around the internet, I came across trans narratives in a lot of places, and reading these narratives made a lot of the jumble of feelings going around in my head start to make sense. According to my logic at the time, because I wasn’t a girl, I clearly had to be a boy. I identified very strongly as transgender and moreover as male. There were and still are a plethora of resources around for transgender men, and for a long time this seemed an answer to my question of gender, and a very simple answer at that.

I was in search of the magic ‘passing’ for a man, and that goal gave me a guideline on what clothing I should buy and wear, on how I should wear my hair, on how to walk and talk.

As time has gone on and for reasons that I am still working out, the simple answer has proven to be less and less absolute. Part of it probably stems from the multitude of ways that toxic masculinity pressures masculine-identifying people, and a desire that if that is what it means to be male, I don’t want that either. A gender role that is centred around violence and a lack of emotion isn’t what I was going for. Another part of that stems from the fact that while I have gotten to watch many of my friends go through the joy (and often pains) of self-discovery, and getting on hormone replacement therapy and figuring it out, hormones have always been just out of reach for me. I am admittedly a little bitter about the fact that it is quite likely that for health reasons (better discussed in some other post), hormone replacement therapy will never be a viable option for me.

However, the other thing that has happened is that nonbinary gender has become more prominent, and more discussed. This is the direction where my identity has been shifting, and this is the direction where my experience of gender has always been, perhaps.

I get asked a lot of the time, especially by strangers and children, “Are you a boy or a girl?” When I do respond, because sometimes I’m just too busy or not in a mood to engage, the answer flips between yes, and no, and both of those answers feel valid and relevant at the moment. I’m not a girl, but I’m not a boy either, and more importantly, I don’t have to be either one.

It is still difficult most days to figure out what being nonbinary means for me. Trying to figure out whether something makes me look too feminine for me to be comfortable, too masculine, or some Goldilocks balance of ‘just right’. Similarly, I haven’t figured out the sort of effortless confidence that I see from many nonbinary people on the internet, mixing items from clothing typically considered feminine and clothing typically considered masculine without so much as batting an eyelash. But I am slowly managing to be at a point where I feel comfortable wearing lipstick or eyeshadow, or wearing a dress and combat boots.

And being able to say that for at least that moment, I don’t care.

The not so simple answer.