Returning from Gen Con meant a return to reality, and that meant thinking about teaching again. Granted, I still have money left from my severance; but (a) it’s not as much as should have been because it was taxed as “bonus” pay not salary, and (b) it will run out by December in any case, and (c) teaching jobs start in cycles, and the next one won’t be until January.
I am not looking for full-time work at this point (not that I would turn it down if such an elusive beast reared its head). But working as an adjunct on a per-class basis for a community college is a nice way to score a little extra money and make that severance stretch out another month or two. Adjuncting will also afford me the time to keep current with my writing jobs, such as they are.
Finding a position in teaching in 2014 is difficult in any case. But mine is complicated by other factors, of course. This was the problem I was dreading, the one that transitioning while at my former, thought-I-was-secure job was supposed to help me avoid. To wit: I’m living as Alison, and I’m in the middle of a legal name change; but my government ID still says Him, as do my college transcripts. So whom do I apply as?
Obviously, my heart says I apply as Alison. No turning back. I haven’t spent a single day as Him in over two months. That is a part of my identity I have left behind, and every day I find another small way to scrub it from my life. I don’t pass, I probably never will pass, my height alone guarantees it, not to mention my build, my voice, and everything else; but even if I teach as an out and proud trans woman, I’d still be teaching authentically, as myself.
Practicality and responsibility say that I apply as Him and work as Him and just “suck it up and deal with it,” as someone so bluntly put it yesterday. I need a job, and in this day and age being trans is still something that carries an enormous stigma. This may be what I need to do to get by. Besides, going into any interview as Alison is likely to kill my chances in any case. That’s just the way of the world we live in. Being trans is more acceptable than it used to be, but a lot of schools aren’t going to want to risk putting off their paying customers (the students) by putting a tranny at the head of the classroom. Why do that when they could play it safe? I’m more likely to get a job as Him.
But honestly, emotionally, I don’t know how I would handle returning to Him on a daily basis. Just thinking about it last night gave me a panic attack and reduced me to tears. That’s the curse of dysphoria. Two months of freedom, two months as my Self is all it has taken for me to freeze up at the thought of having to put on a shirt and tie again, to be called Mr. Hudson all day. It’s not me; it never was, but I was trapped in it for all my life so I dealt with it. When I broke down last year it was precisely because I couldn’t deal with it any longer. Now that I’ve had my taste of freedom, can I really go back in the cage?
I don’t know what to do. All the people in my support structure tell me to take the practical route, to suck it up, to be him. But I don’t know if I can. Every step I’ve taken since I got out of the hospital last April has been a step away from the burden of Him. I just don’t think I’m strong enough to shoulder it again.