Tag Archives: capitalism sucks

Unlearning

Sometimes I forget that unlearning all the internalized oppressive crap that has been instilled in me is an ongoing process. Sometimes I get to a point where I feel like “yep, I’ve unlearned it all, I’m good to go.” And the next thing I know a thought will pop into my head or I’ll do something without thinking and afterwards I pause and go “hey wait a minute, that was really messed up… I guess I haven’t unlearned it all…” And that’s kind of a disheartening thought, realizing just how entrenched all of these messed up values are in me is really distressing. At the same time, it’s an invaluable reminder of the fact that I will never be done unlearning. I live in a society where these horrible ideas are all around me, therefore it is a constant battle to say “no, that’s not right.” But it’s a worthwhile battle because all of the racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, sexist, etc. crap that we are bombarded with on a daily basis is not ok. And I’m not just going to give in to it just because it’s hard to recognize it and unlearn it.

At the same time, I struggle with remembering that others are working on unlearning it too and it’s not my place to judge their process. It’s really important for me to remember that I hate the system that puts these ideas in place, I don’t hate the people that the ideas have been instilled in. Hating people instead of hating the system is a distraction, it is an obstacle in the way of real change. We are all struggling to unlearn the idea that we do not deserve good things and neither do others, for whatever reason. We are all worthy of love. We are all worthy of respect.

Work Stressors

Today I worked an 8-hour shift that felt as if it were more like 10. Nothing really of note except near the end of my shift, a customer stopped me and said “Excuse me… sir? Miss? Ma’am? I’m sorry, I’m not really sure what you are…” I responded with a smile and waited for the inevitable question about a certain product’s location. Once the customer realized I wasn’t going to answer the question about my gender identity and which title I go by, they asked the question and I was able to help them find what it was that they were looking for. I felt flustered at the time, and reflecting on it, I feel somewhat angry, which I find interesting because I typically enjoy when I cause people to second guess their assumptions gender. However, upon further reflection, I think part of my anger stems from the fact that we have this seemingly needless gendered title as part of our engrained greeting custom and I just feel like it’s so pointless… why? Why do we have to address someone with a gendered title? Why couldn’t it just be “excuse me”? That seems just as effective to me… Because I don’t go by sir, miss, or ma’am, so it’s not like the inclusion of any of those titles is what caught my attention, it was the “excuse me” and the look of inquiry upon the person’s face…  I think the other part of my anger stems from embarrassment. Because as much as I like making people question their assumptions about gender, I recognize that in front of other people, who may or may not hold the same assumptions about gender as the person who is questioning me, I feel vulnerable when my presentation is being questioned. I don’t know if the people who are witnessing the event are going to join in with the questions, which at times can feel like demands for answers about my gender identity, or if they are going to feel like the questions/demands are ridiculous and come to my aid. So I am left feeling vulnerable, awkward, frozen, stuck, panicky, anxious, scared, and embarrassed. And that feeling, after it is left to stew in my head for a bit turns into anger. It all sounds/feels a bit irrational to me now that I write it down, but then again, emotions and gender aren’t really all that “rational”… and come to think of it, where did I get this sense that rationality is the end all be all? I smell hegemony. I feel like it’s probably related to the way dominant discourse values science and scientific thought above other “lesser” forms of viewing/thinking about/processing the world such as religion and religious thought or art or community processes etc. which, of course, are all valid, valuable ways of viewing, thinking about, and processing the world. Humph.

After that incident, it was mostly all I could think about and I worry now that I may have ignored or avoided other customers because I was stuck in my own head, replaying that scenario and trying to figure out how I felt and why… which is especially worrisome today, and for the rest of this week because my position is temporary/seasonal and this next week is when the last round of lay-offs are happening, which means the pressure is onnnn.

That incident rekindled a cyclical worry for me that maybe the company is going to fire me simply because of the way I look, without factoring in my performance at all, because perhaps they don’t want to have to worry about customers potentially feeling uncomfortable with an employee whose gender identity is not immediately obvious to them…

Ughhhh if I were to lose this job, my partner and I will have a really hard time paying rent.. not to mention for food, vet bills, medical bills (I have to go see if I can get my broken tooth fixed and she had some medical bills come up that she thought she had already paid!), etc.

Well, for now I’m still employed and we are still keeping our heads above water. Fingers crossed I make it past next week!

Until next time…