Worn out

I’ve been feeling really worn down for… at least a couple of months now, if i’m honest with myself. I keep telling myself I’m just on the edge of being worn down, but that’s just silly. I’ve been here before, and I should know better.

The job I have right now (mercifully, it’s only temporary anyway) is definitely too much for me in some ways. It’s been a good experience, and great for my career, but some of the things that make up a large part of my day-to-day work right now are draining everything I have. I haven’t had the wherewithal to really maintain a good social life since the fall, and it’s definitely gotten worse lately.

A big part of what I’m doing right now at work is outreach to local schools. This is a great awesome thing that we do at the library; it lets us promote our services and programs directly to kids and teachers, and we also bring in resources that the kids don’t get access to at their schools. I also… dislike pretty much everything about it?

Classic school outreach, I like, actually. Going out to spend an hour or so with one or two classes on a specific topic is fun, and not that different from the regular programs I run (which I still love!) It breaks up my week and often means I get a bit of a walk in on the clock, which is nice.

What I’m doing right now is a larger initiative we call the “Maker Experience”. It’s a full-day affair, and it involves two library employees. We set up a bunch of different gadgets and gear in the school library and spend the day giving different iterations of the same talk to different groups of kids, before giving them some time to play with and explore some of our stuff. Sometimes the school doesn’t even bother to build in time for us to regroup in between sessions.

The kids always have fun, and the teachers are generally very pleased with the whole thing, but I’m honestly not actually that excited about the content or convinced it adds much value to their day. But that’s not even the hardest part for me.

Although this project has picked up a lot of its own momentum, and I’m not cold-calling teacher librarians to try to get them interested (they pretty much all come to me, at a rate that’s hard for me to manage as is), I do spend a lot of time liaising with strangers, (and spending my days in unfamiliar spaces). Trying to organize a date that works for the school and that the library can handle being down two employees for the full day is tough. Even tougher is that I’m spearheading this outreach for my area, to three different branches, and have to reach out to the appropriate managers as and when.

I’m usually training new support people each time, in part because we want to get as many people as possible trained in this outreach as we can – at some point, it won’t be necessary for me to be along on all of these visits, or that’s the goal anyway.

All of this is on top of the regular programs and in-branch duties I’m used to handling, by the way.

It’s… a lot, is what I’m saying.

Add to this that the one real symptom of pregnancy that I’m having is a need for more sleep than usual. But my schedule doesn’t have the wiggle room for me to get more sleep than I already get, so it’s been tough going. I’m on a sleep deficit most of the week, and desperately try to make it up on the weekends (and I alternate between one- and three-day weekends, so this can be really tough on my six-day work weeks).

So, my non-work life is suffering. I messed up and double-booked social things this week, and wound up flaking on something really important. And then I realized it’s the third or fourth social thing I’ve flaked on in this month alone. I literally don’t have the wherewithal right now to stay on top of my work stuff (which I miraculously do seem to be on top of, somehow!) and the rest of my life. Throw in all the extra doctor stuff, and the fact that I’m moving at the end of the month, and I really should have known better than to agree to do things this month, to be honest… Sorry friends, I really do love you all, but I have to interact with far too many people as it is these days.

It’s not going to be forever though. This position is only mine until mid-to-late July (though I suspect they’ll keep me on a little extra time, and not bother to transition me to my new permanent position right away, since by then my pregnancy leave will be imminent), and school outreach won’t be happening past the end of June in any case.

Better yet, we’re moving closer to where I work next month. What’s been a 2-hour transit commute each way for the last few years will become a 40-minute walk (or 15 minutes on transit plus a 15 minute walk, depending on how I feel). I’ll have time for that extra sleep soon!

In the meantime, I’m already counting down the days to my parental leave. It’s just five more months, and when I get back I’ll have already started accumulating honest-to-goodness paid vacation days, so I will hopefully never have to get this run-down again.

Oh yeah, did I mention I’ve been working full-time for 18 months now with no real access to vacation (contract work is just so fun!)? Because that’s probably a big part of this whole thing. Thank goodness the precarity has an expiration date.

I can do this.

Well-meaning cis folk

I am tired. I am tired of well-meaning cis folks. I am really, really tired of well-meaning straight cis folks.

I’m tired of people who organize sexuality conferences, and make all kinds of noise about the special effort they’ve made to be more trans inclusive this year, and still comment loudly about how surprised they are to see so many women in the prostate play seminar. Seriously. Because even if you think you live in a world where women don’t have prostates, is it that hard to remember that sometimes women have sex with people who have prostates, and that sometimes they might be interested in the bodies of their sex partners?

I’m really, really, really tired of people who think it’s appropriate to describe the non cis male people attending the workshop on cis male sexuality as “allies”. Newsflash: cis men do not need allies.

I’m tired of people who think that throwing the word “identified” after gender (as in female-identified) makes them trans inclusive. It actually usually feels like you’re denying that person’s identity. A trans woman doesn’t “identify as a woman”; she *is* a woman. If you describe yourself as seeking “woman-identified” sex partners, you are awful.

I’m tired of people who learn just enough to pick up a phrase that sounds like they know what they’re talking about, like they’re totally trans inclusive, and then use it in completely inappropriate ways. Don’t talk about “female-bodied people” when you mean “people who are perceived as female”. Those are very, very different categories.

Think before you speak. It really isn’t difficult to avoid misgendering people who have informed you of their gender. It just isn’t. Stop pretending it is, and do the damn work.

I am tired of doing the work for everyone else around me. Like, I’m fine if people meet me and assume that I fit in one category or the other of the binary. But once you have been told, listen. I don’t want to have to tell you again. And again. And again.

I’m not even asking anyone to understand my gender. I’m asking them to respect me. And I’m tired feeling like I’m the one being difficult when I maintain my boundaries after a friend makes a crack about “binders full of women” on my livejournal post about buying a binder.

Just, no. That wasn’t ok. And you defending it is making it worse.

Confidential to the people who actually know me: if I am the only trans person in your life, I am probably too tired to deal with you right now.