Posted on May 1, 2016 ; related to Updates, Real life, School, Identity. Leave a comment?
This post is a little spontaneous. Unlike my other posts, I didn’t carefully plan out and proofread everything, because I didn’t plan on making this post.
There’s a lot of things going on in my life lately. I found out last month that I will be graduating at the end of 2018, 2 terms sooner than I had anticipated. That means that I have to start working on my thesis next year, and start planning for it now. The thing about senior theses at my school is that most people do them with their co-op employers. They get paid to do their theses and they don’t have to think about what to (i.e. come up with an idea of the thesis) as much as how to do it. So their bosses mostly sat down with them, discussed the possible topic ideas, and they just chose from the available options.
For me, this past work term (January-March) did not go as well as I had expected. Last summer work term was at a different division that focused more on hardware testing, which I didn’t really care for. I had what I could call friends there, and although the boss was a more rough personality than I was used to, he and I got along and understood each other. I had a lot of stressful moments, but I got a SA (”Strongly Approve”) rating from that term.
Now this past work term I got an internal transfer, which allowed me to work more in Software which was my field. However, the people there, while polite and “softer”, were not helpful at all. My boss was away 40% of the time, and the guy who he left to supervise me was very bad at communication. Added to my hearing loss, that meant I spent days, even weeks there, unsure what I was supposed to do. I tried to ask questions, but they were not answered or vaguely answered. The people who worked at that office were apathetic, to say the least. And at the end of the term, I got an evaluation A (”Agree”) but had 3 disagrees on the evaluation which meant I barely got credit for that work term. And at the last day of work, I didn’t even know we had a training manual, or that we didn’t work on Good Friday! Turns out, I was the only one who went in on Good Friday and didn’t even get paid.
I was disappointed to say the least. I was angry, even. I was mad at my boss for giving me a bad rating when he had done a bad job himself. I was mad at my direct supervisor who was too busy and unavailable, not communicating with me well. I was mad at myself for all the “should haves”: maybe I should have spoken up more, maybe if I didn’t have this hearing loss I would have had better communication. But I was also angry at God. It took me 3 months of job searching, a career fair, and 4 interviews, all of which I got rejected, until this one. I had the interview 3 days before my flight to Thailand. I found out I got the job 3 days before Christmas, and it was only but the grace of God that I got this job, and now this? I was dismayed. Didn’t God want to give the best for me?
So now it comes to this. I had my thesis to do, and I’d be damned if I do the thesis at my co-op place. I didn’t even want to go back there for next work term, and now I have to approach my boss about a thesis, too? I prayed. I didn’t want to work with those people. I didn’t want to do something that felt meaningless, that didn’t really matter. I didn’t want to do just another mediocre thing. That was until I thought of an idea…
At the non-profit organization I work at, Amazing Grace Counseling Outreach (AGCO), I was in charge of most of the money flow tracking. I had to do the bookkeeping, so I needed to make sure all the money was accounted for. When I was at school, I had 3 months of bookkeeping to keep track of, and often the information (which was in paper) was scattered and hard to find.
My idea was to write a program to keep track of the cash flow for the organization, and tailor it specifically for them. It would be an entrepreneurship thesis, which I could do independently of my co-op. I’m very excited about this idea, but there’s still a long way to go.
I have to pitch the idea to my adviser, convince the co-op people to let me to this thesis, write a proposal, not to mention a whole lot of other things that go with the process.
But if it could work, it would really work. It’s harder than a typical thesis, but if I could pull this off, with God’s help, then it would help AGCO a lot, not to mention me as well as a potential business idea.
There’s still a long way to go, and honestly I’m afraid, but also excited. Here’s to my potential new thesis!
Posted on Mar 21, 2015 ; related to Updates, Identity, Looking Back. Leave a comment?
This post is really on a whim. I saw this post on Tumblr and went on a little in the tags. I felt compelled to post more about this on an impulse about my experience.
I may have mentioned this before, but I had lots of mental health issues growing up. I grew up with anger issues, anxiety, and some OCD. When I hit puberty I started questioning my gender identity (this was way before I even know being transgender was a thing) and I started having depression and self harmed a bit at the age of 12. Things went up and down from there, and things got really bad in 2012. The depression got worse, the dysphoria came, I had suicidal thoughts all the time, and I started self harming regularly. 2013 was the worst year of my life.
But the point isn’t to have a pity party. This post is about recovery. It took time. It really did. At first I didn’t even make a decision to recover initially. It was more like a “no promises” kind of thing. I’ve been addicted enough times to know that resolving to quit something (in my case, self harm) was setting the bar too high.
So I started with low expectations of myself. But it was gradual. Each day didn’t seem much different from the last. Little things happened, and I didn’t notice it during the way, but when I look back it seemed so much more obvious. Me telling my mother about my self harm, me getting a therapist, me not wanting to die for the first time in 2 years, me being 6 months clean.
So now am I perfectly normal and happy? Far from it. I still think I’m pretty fucked up and I want to go back to old habits. When that happens I remind myself I used to be even more fucked up and that wasn’t fun at all.
To any of you who are struggling with this right now, life isn’t a spiral of downs and more downs, though it really fucking feels like it sometimes. If there are downs, there are ups, and if you’re down now, you’re just saving the ups for the future so you can appreciate it more.
Alright, I think I’m done rambling. This is all I wanted to say for now.
Posted on Jan 25, 2015 ; related to Gender, Identity, Looking Back. Leave a comment?
It’s kind of surreal to think back to 2010. It’s already been half a decade since then. In 2010, when I was 13, I was still figuring all this gender thing out. It had been one year since I made the decision to cut my hair, and I was getting used to being read as a boy and being treated differently. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I was starting to know what having male privilege was like. The difference was not obvious to me, but as my mother started to point them out to me, I noticed. Things that I liked happened: people moving out of my way more, being more respected, and not feeling constantly aware of being sexualized. But some things also happened that made me uncomfortable: being told to “man up,” feeling like I have to constantly prove my masculinity, using public restrooms, and getting weird looks when people realized that I was “really a girl.”
13 year old me didn’t know it at the time, but looking back, I was a boy then. A young trans boy exploring a new identity, what it means to be a guy, what it means to be a girl. The funny thing was, I wasn’t aware I was a boy at the time. Five years later it’s obvious to me. I made friends in homeschool co-op who didn’t know I was “really a girl,” I grin and feel good whenever I got read as male in public, and I felt totally comfortable wearing clothes from the men’s section.
No, actually, looking back I was kind of aware something was up. The previous year I decided to cut my hair because someone thought I was a guy. I hurried back home and googled “girl who wants to be a guy.” Thanks to the Internet, I knew what “ftm” was. I longed for binders, I wanted to present and live full time as male, but I thought it was sin. I gave myself a way out by thinking that I was just a tomboy, and this was just a phase. I wasn’t really a boy, I was just a girl who liked masculine things.
But I was never shown what being a man looked like. My father was distant and I didn’t respect him much, so I looked to other sources. The traditional American macho philosophy provided me a framework, if you will, for what masculinity should look like. I wanted to belong, so I took part in misogyny. I looked down on girls and tried to distance myself from anything remotely feminine. I already had internalized misogyny from my years of not being “one of those girls,” so it was an easy fit for me.
Even with all that, 2010 was a good year, all in all. I still have a picture of myself at 13, wearing a Flyleaf t-shirt and cargo shorts for my homeschool co-op picture. In it I just had a haircut and I am smiling widely. I didn’t have to deal with a lot of things yet.
If 13 year old me could see me right now, he probably would have lots of questions. He would ask if I have a binder, if I was a boy or a girl, how I made it the past five years. But most importantly, he would ask if I were still me.