I don’t want this site to be solely about being transgender. From my experiences so far, it’s not even something I could write about every week – being in the closet is far more intense and frustrating and writeable. However, there are moments when things happen, unique to trans people. I’d like to share those moments with you, and let you into the mystery.
Gina's Trans Diary, 01.10.16: entry 7 On Self-Pity and Bitterness
I was at a dinner party the other evening. Nice people, great food, delicious wine. The kind of night that should send you to sleep with a smile on your face.
I woke up at five in the morning, feeling sad about my life.
When you're 41, it can be strange, sitting in the company of those in their twenties, with their scholarships and their tales of their funded undergraduate degrees. Tales of Cambridge and studies in America. You compare, silently, to your own financially troubling situation. You walk home, and you continue thinking about it. You go to bed and fall asleep when your head hits the pillow, but you wake up at five; the thought is still there.
In a previous excerpt of this diary I talked about the search for work, and how – having come out as transgender – I see my inability to find work through the prism of my new identity. It can be easy to blame your failures on what you are. I occasionally wonder: did I not get the job interview because I'm trans? But then the truth: how many jobs have I applied for since the beginning of summer? Ten, maybe? There are people out there who send away ten applications per week (and certainly per month), and they're still struggling to find work, and they're not trans. I could have been more dynamic in my approach to finding work, if I'd wanted.
On stories of the past: I struggled at school and at university, and I don't understand why. Why not the focus and seriousness and motivation of now? Able to get decent grades, and be good enough to get funded degrees. At five o'clock in the morning, after an evening spent with mercurial space cadets, you wonder: why was I so shit, for so long?
Was it, at least partly, due to being trans? Being repressed? Refusing to trust your instincts, because your instincts were that you wanted to present as a girl. Don't take the options that seem attractive; anything that seems attractive is wrong.
But then, how many people were brilliantly talented, go-getting forces of nature in their teens and in their twenties? Everyone who wasn't a closet transsexual?
It's easy to think like this at five in the morning. And these are First World anxieties, as my friend Yesi would say. She also said later that day, when I'd talked about my lack of sleep, you have to stop comparing yourself to others. You'll only fuck yourself up.So, sometimes I have my five a.m. moments, and they don't just occur at five a.m. Financial limitations can make you go weird. But I'd like to pick up the transgender prism and smash it against something, when I'm thinking like this. Keep working at your goals. The part-time job, the funding for studies, the no-need-to-worry-about-money anymore. The novelist Thomas Pynchon wrote about how paranoia had replaced religion in the modern age as our great explainer for everything. Nothing aids paranoia like coming out as trans, but it is just one more kind of illusion, a gap-filler for low moments, and it passes.