“Normal people’s” problems

The other day I got to meet with my godmother, who came to the city I live for some conference or something. We chatted and had a nice time together, and I was filling her up with how my life is going: not-very-successfully searching for a job, worries about money, a small existential crisis about the fact that I just turned 26 and I don’t really know what I’m doing with my life career-wise, relationships, and all the rest.

I have a pretty good relationship with my godmother, which is why I confidently shared a lot of the stuff that is going on my mind lately, and how I feel, particularly about career situation.

At some point she looked at me, and said something that took me off guard. She said “I think you’re not doing very well”, as in “I worry about you, because I think you’re sad”.

I looked at her, and I laughed. And then I told her that I am doing exceptionally well, and to be honest, I’m doing better than most other times in my life. I am not depressed, I am happy with who I am, I live in a stable house with a person I love and the stressors of my life are not as big as they used to be (especially during the past couple of years), and all I have to deal with right now is “normal people’s problems”.

I can finally sit down and think about jobs. LOL.
My future as a professional, what do I want to do with, you know, my life.

It’s funny because at some point in the past, not that long ago, I didn’t even believe that I would have reached this point. There was a point in my life that I legit didn’t believe that I will live let alone work past 25.

So, here we are, having to deal with unemployment and job search and all this shit, which is far, far away from fun and fine, but I find myself rolling my eyes at the face of adversity (or wasn’t that the quote), and not feeling as burdened about it.

I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, but all I know is that I’ve grown enormously the past few years, and my whole life leading to now has given me a very different perspective on things.

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The Defective Human: When your human warranty is not valid anymore

According to health insurance companies, being transgender is either a “pre-existing condition” that they will not cover medical expenses for (which by itself it’s a bit ridiculous if you ask me) or it is not considered a medical condition, having possible medical needs (like surgeries or hormone treatment) fall under “cosmetic procedures” and therefore, not covered either.

This is not the post where I argue about the fact that gender affirming surgeries and other procedures are labeled as “cosmetic” and “optional” (they are optional, not all transgender people choose to have them and that’s ok – however for those who do, it’s not really an “option”, when it’s either that or severe mental health problems).

This is rather the post where I talk about how it feels when you suddenly start understanding yourself as “defective” in comparison to the general population, and you get introduced to various situations where your “human warrantee” that will allow you to navigate your body in society is being seen as “out of warranty”.

Personally, I have been defective my whole life, one way or another. When I was 6 months old my parents discovered that I have a severe case of atopic dermatitis (an autoimmune, non-curable thing that causes rashes and unexplainable wounds on your body, and can make your mother shit herself in fear when she discovers her sleeping baby covered in blood as if someone slit their throat during the night). It’s not a serious condition, for the most part it’s mainly inconvenient and the worst thing that can happen to you is to get bullied at school because your skin looks really gross, but it’s something that made me familiar with the idea that I am defective, in ways that I can’t really do anything about it.

When I was 13, I was diagnosed with depression and the deal was sealed. I am defective, a kind of human that was not cooked properly and ended up being a bit scruffy at the ends. Fast forward to ten years later, I’m also trans (oh the surprise!). And if up until now I was the only one aware of my defectiveness, now the whole world would know.

The thing with defective products that their owners still use, is that pretty much they are the only ones who know how to deal with them. If you have an electronic device with a specific problem that needs a bit of shaking or the press of two random buttons to work properly, chances are that if it falls in the hands of someone else (who is not an expert) they probably won’t be able to figure it out, and they will just abandon it, right after swearing a bit for how “dumb” it is.

This metaphor, although uncomfortable, is a very relatable way of understanding the way most people see us. Many medical experts don’t know “which buttons they are supposed to press”, most acquaintances don’t understand “how it works”, friends and family are wondering “why don’t we let this go already”.

But, you know, it’s our thing. And it’s not only our thing, it’s us that are the “thing”.

And as much as I want to be angry at the world that many times has no idea what to do to “make me work”, I also understand that whether I like it or not, I’m not easy nor ordinary (in the bluntest of ways of course, it’s not that I consider myself a special snowflake), and I have to learn how to live with that, with all my defectiveness and such.

And for the most part, that’s okay, because for what is worth, I know which buttons I need to press, and that’s what matters the most.