Rough times

I’ve had a rough week and a half or so. My Christmas break was great. I relaxed a lot and managed to finish my second novel, The Lost are Like This, along with creating a cover. Unfortunately, after that, life resumed the extremely hectic pace it’s maintained since Fall quarter started in September. I’m teaching two sections of developmental English, which is actually really great so far. I feel fulfilled and satisfied after leaving the classes, which is something I could never say at my previous job. I remember why I stuck with teaching for four and a half years. But I’m also doing a full-time Master’s program in Cultural Studies at night. Either one of those things would occupy a lot of my time, but together they’re sapping 90% of my energy away from editing The Lost are Like This, which is a hot mess still.

I’m remembering that I’m not 22 anymore, unlike when I started my first grad program. I didn’t mind spending 16 hours a day away from home when I needed to, because I didn’t have anything else to do. I managed to write most of my first novel while I was working 3-4 jobs outside of school and finishing my thesis, which is a feat I’m sure I’ll never be able to replicate again. That’s probably a good thing, since I don’t wish that kind of insanity or stress on anyone. Still, it makes me begrudge my weariness at only doing three things. It’s a pretty ridiculous standard to hold myself to. The voice in my head is still all WALK IT OFF YOU CAN HANDLE IT LET’S DO THIS. But the rest of my brain is like


To add to that (because Anxious Brain has to add stress to more stress), body image stuff has been creeping up on me. I found out a few months back that the university’s student healthcare plan covers trans surgeries, so I fully planned on making top surgery happen this coming summer. Then I ended up having to buy a new car when my shitty old one became more of a burden than it was worth, leaving me unable to pay the premium for the student health insurance. Thankfully I’m covered by Medicaid, which I’m grateful for, but it explicitly does not cover any trans-related surgeries. 

I’ve been uninsured for a long time now, so ironically I haven’t been at the mercy of the healthcare system as much as I am now. It’s hard to be beholden to something you just plain can’t gain access to. I’m glad for the access (thanks Obama!) but now I’m experiencing first-hand how completely fucked it is. Part of it, too, is the fact that in the past couple of years 1) mental illness and 2) gender dysphoria have made themselves explicitly clear to me, so I require more care than I ever have before.

I feel very much at the mercy of a lot of different things. The healthcare system, my schedule, finances, my own body and mind. It’s overwhelming. Yesterday I had a bit of a breakdown, and when that happens I can’t sort anything out. I lost basically an entire day of coherent thought to scattershot worries and depression and frustration and disgust with my current state of being. I know those days happen, and I’m doing better today, but tired in the wake of it. I’m trying not to think of how many damn things I have to do in the next week and reminding myself that the beginning of the quarter is always like this. I hate my life for the first week or so and then I find a rhythm. The nagging worries about the book and my ability to succeed in my classes remain, but at least I know from experience that I’m able to cope with the worry.

This is a kind of perspective I couldn’t have had years ago. Life dragged me through some serious shit, I broke down and had to build myself back up again. I know I’m stronger and more capable because of it as a whole. I’ll deal, even when it gets exhausting.


2 thoughts on “Rough times

  1. Damn – impressive feat completing a novel when you have so much on your plate. In Britain, we don’t have health insurance but a nationalised health service and trans related operations are covered by it. Must be so stressful trying to transition with a healthcare system like America’s!

    When I completed my first novel I was still in school and balancing a job and a social life and all of that kinda thing. No idea how I did it. Now I struggle to complete my writing targets at all, and I have to clear out several weeks of my calendar. I thought discipline was supposed to come with age?!


    1. Discipline might come with age, but speed does not, I find. 🙂 Hopefully my next novel doesn’t take me two and a half years to write again.

      And yes, I never really conceptualized how difficult it would be. I live in a very progressive area (Seattle), so I’m lucky enough to have medical and professional psychological help with transition. It would be easy enough (relatively speaking) to get hormones, but the surgery itself is still a reach. The fact that trans related medical issues aren’t automatically covered by federal- or state-funded Medicaid is so patently ridiculous I’m not even sure where to start with it. Even under Obamacare, much of one’s medical care is still determined by what insurance company they have. My kingdom for a national healthcare system that isn’t at the mercy of whatever backward-ass right wing clique decides to make a fuss over their pet hate project.


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