Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Life update: On just being me

Whoa. Okay. It's been a long time. I'm not dead! Things have just been a bit mad. Here's some stuff that's been happening.

1. I've been working full time and going to uni full time and that is never a good idea. It just sort of happened with the way my modules for my master's fell this year. And it's been crazy. I don't know how people do it for extended periods of time. I'm spending basically all my time either at work or studying, with one or two nights a week out with friends just to destress a bit. It's left me with basically no time to play music or write, which sucks.

2. I've decided I'm done with playing life on hard mode. You know what, a lot of people do work full time and go to uni full time, and heck maybe have kids and volunteer and do all sorts of stuff on top of that. That's fine. But it's not working for me. I need my life back. I'm cutting back on classes next semester and I've decided to take another year to finish my dissertation. At the end of the day, no-one will give you an award for working more than 60 hours a week or rushing yourself though a master's degree. So yep. Done with that.

3. I'm feeling better about things than I was over the summer. I had a pretty melancholy summer, to be honest. Without uni, I was feeling a bit... adrift. I was having friend problems, and relationship problems, and gender identity problems (more on that later) and my job wasn't giving me any satisfaction. I was starting to have a crisis about what I was doing with my life and my career and all that. Then I broke up with my girlfriend of four years. I spent a few days in bed, then rang up my friends and started to make amends for everything. Uni started again, and I felt like I was home again. I'm trying to stop comparing myself to other people. There is no life pattern and I shouldn't feel guilty about what I have and haven't done with my life so far. I'm only twenty-four, for god's sake!

4. I've come to accept my gender identity. So, I identify as non-binary, specifically genderqueer. Basically, I don't feel like a man or a woman, or I'm somewhere in the middle, or a little from column A, little from column B. I've felt like this all my life and been aware that I identified that way for years and years... but I never really accepted it. Presenting myself as a butch/boyish lesbian was easier for people to understand. Existing in the space between two genders was terrifying, so I just didn't really... talk about it or think about it all that much. I mean, I would mention it if it came up, but it was always under a sort of caveat of "But I'm still a woman, mostly!" or "But I'm never going to change my name or get surgery!" And well, neither of those things are necessarily true. I was hiding because I was scared to be myself, that no-one would understand, that no-one would want to date me, that I was just a) cisgender and wanting to be a special snowflake, b) a trans guy in denial, c) incredibly sexist by thinking being masculine meant I couldn't be a woman, d) incredibly sexist by thinking by being feminine I couldn't be a man. Yeah. My brain is exhausting.

Basically at some point I just kind of went, fuck it. Fuck all that fear, I'm just going to be me and do what I want to do and identify what feels right to me, and if that doesn't make sense to other people, that's not my problem. I started using they/them pronouns in some situations, started using the more gender neutral name Gee, stopped worrying that every time I wore a binder it meant I was actually a guy and every time I wore a dress I was actually a girl. And you know what? It's wonderful. People have been so much more accepting than I could ever have guessed and there's such a weight off my shoulders now that I can be myself.

So for the record: I use both Gemma and Gee and she/her and they/them and it doesn't make a huge difference to me what people use. I probably prefer Gee and they/them, but I don't mind one bit if people call me Gemma and she/her, especially if they've always known me as Gemma or they aren't used to using gender neutral pronouns. So, anything goes :)

5. In spite of all the drama in my life, I've actually been reading quite a lot. Last year I read 100 books on the dot, and with just over a week left of 2016 I'm on 127 with five more on the go. I've read some wonderful books in the last few months, and my drafts are full of reviews I started but never finished. Hopefully I should get to do a round up before the year's out.

So, there we have it, a brief tour through my crazy life. Fingers crossed that as soon as my essays are done and handed in (why does my university want to ruin Christmas, why) I'll have a bit more time to spend on the blog. So many exciting things are coming up! There's Bout of Books, which unfortunately falls the week before my assignments are due- or fortunately? Be a good excuse to squeeze in some relaxing reading breaks between writing essays. There's Bex's re-readathon (which I'm actually co-hosting, eep). There's the Discworldathon, also by Bex, which I'm very excited about- I've only read a few Terry Pratchett books and I've been meaning to get into him more, so this is the perfect excuse.

Anyway, it's been good to catch up. Hope you all have a lovely Christmas with lots of books and tasty food :)

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