amw (amw) wrote,
amw
amw

depression, gender and drinking in a small town

I really wanted to find an excuse to post some pretty sunset selfies that i took a few weeks ago, but the last couple weeks i have been an emotional basketcase.

To summarize: the ugly UK-centric fight about "trans rights" found its way into a computer gaming publication that i read, their longest-serving writer got canceled for speaking on an issue outside of his lane, dozens of trans "allies" piled on, meanwhile there were at least two actual trans people (one of whom was me) saying that this isn't what we asked for, but our voices didn't matter, because we aren't part of the cool kids of contemporary trans activism.

This struck at a time when i was already feeling depressed because of the shitty weather and the coronavirus social restrictions which are putting a damper on the sorts of things that would normally make winter tolerable. I lost a lot of sleep. I started questioning my own gender identity again. I found myself irritated at the kids who are convinced they are in an existential struggle for "trans rights", as if there weren't generations of trans people who lived okay lives before they were even born. Then i started realizing this is just what old people feel like. But also, it became even more apparent to me that social media makes people of all ages less tolerant, less open-minded and less interested in civil discourse. And that sucks.

Somewhere amidst all this misery, i decided to go out for a beer. Instead of going to the second diviest bar on this side of the river, i went to the diviest bar on this side of the river. It's a bar with no food. Almost everyone there during the day is an alcoholic. Apparently before corona after the sun went down there were shitty local rock bands. Now there is just a pool table, which probably still doesn't follow the corona guidelines, but this is the kind of bar where cops might be a little more lax on the guidelines since it keeps people off the streets who might otherwise get themselves caught up in worse trouble.

I watched Family Feud. I chatted with some oldies. I chatted with an Aussie charter pilot who was passing through, not an industry that is doing a ton of business right now. Then i got to playing pool with a bunch of laborers building one of the condos up the hill.

We chatted and drank, and eventually one of them plucked up the courage to ask me if i was really a woman. (I go to the women's toilets, but i make zero effort to feminize my voice, i'm fairly tall, and all my outer clothes are "male", so it's easy to read me as a man.) I made a joke about it, and then we got into the usual discussion of being trans, and specifically the topic everyone cares about: surgery.

When i was younger, i used to find it a bit offensive that people would always ask about the surgery. I get that y'all are curious because it's a weird and unusual medical procedure, but also... there is so much more that affects a person's life as one gender or the other than the function of their genitals. And, let's be real, not a lot of people really like to talk to strangers about what's in their drawers anyway. However. As i have gotten older, i have given less and less of a shit. I understand now that allowing people to make the faux pas of reducing me to my genitals eventually lets me move the conversation to other things without it becoming confrontational.

We ended up having a laugh about how one of the guys used to be teased as the small dick guy in the group, but from now on he will consider himself the big clit guy. When they said i was the first trans person they had ever met, i told them that definitely they have met others and just didn't know it - a lot of trans people make more of an effort than me to not be noticed. That led us to some more nuanced discussion of gender, things like stealth and passing and nonconformity. Then they opened up about their own lives, coming from different rural communities and reserves, dealing with familial expectations, the emotional impact of serving in the Forces, drug addiction, money problems, all these other issues that affect people - even big, rough, working class men whose first words on trans people (or women) might come across as crass or insensitive.

The whole interaction was a stark contrast to what i was simultaneously going through online with the university-educated, urban-living, "progressive" games journalist clique. It was a good night.

It was also a night where i overdid it, because of course i did. The bars are all closing at 10pm now because of corona, so we were tossed out on the street wanting to still drink but not sure what to do. This is exactly the same problem that Australia had when they started implementing those stupid "lockout" laws that left drunk people stranded outside with nowhere to go. So one of the guys bought a 12 pack and we all jumped into his truck and took a tiki tour round town till we ended up at a motel where one of the guys lived. We hung out in his room drinking booze and smoking cigarettes and playing PlayStation VR.

Anyway, the sky exploded in snow in the middle of some Beat Saber battle and some of the guys managed to drunkenly drive home because that's just what you do in small towns in North America. Car culture, man. I was offered a spot on the couch, but instead i plodded through the snow to a gas station and called a cab.



I had an absolutely terrible hangover the next day. And then i started worrying i might've caught the corona. Cases are spiking all over the province, to the point where even in our little town we are now hearing of one or two cases popping up every few days. I'm less worried about my own health than my landlord's, but in general i just would prefer to not get sick regardless.

As it turned out it didn't matter because i have spent so fucking long stuck in bed that any corona will be long gone by the time i actually interact face-to-face with anyone again.

I did make it out for a bike ride a few days ago, after the snow melted. It helped to wash out my brain a little bit. I am still depressed, though.

Here's one of those selfies from when i was feeling less miserable.



I am trying to decide if i should just accept the winter and continue hibernating in bed, just reading stuff online, watching shows and playing computer games. I don't want to play harmonica at home because i don't feel as happy playing an instrument like this inside. I associate it so much with my little walks and bike rides, with the fantasy of actually being free to roam. But i can't rely on being able to roam as much any more - it's not just about the weather getting colder and wetter, but the sun setting earlier as well. As you all know i am very bad about getting up early (i wake early, but spend hours getting out of bed). By the time i have my shit together there are only a couple of hours of useful daylight.

Amidst all the bullshit, i got an email from my old company in Berlin, the best company i ever worked for. The boss offered me a role doing part-time maintenance, remote. That is exactly the perfect role for me, just enough money to cover my cheap lifestyle, not full-time, not complicated. I haven't replied yet because i am in too much of a funk. But i would like to try find a way to accept, while still leaving myself free to travel properly once the corona goes away. I still want to explore more of this Turtle Island, goddamnit.
Tags: alcoholism, depression, gender
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