Happy Thanksgiving 2018, my fellow Americans! Yes, yes, we know this is a day where we’re supposed to join our families in eating turkey by the plateful, watch starlets lip sync down a New York boulevard, veg out in slumber post-dinner while watching grown men in helmets hit each other into oblivion on only 3 days’ rest… and try to think of what they’re thankful for. Oh, and start thinking about what gifts to give their loved ones come Christmastime.
While I will likely hate-watch the Macy’s Day Parade (whoops, I did it again), definitely watch some football, and put thoughts on holiday shopping on the back burner, I won’t be with my family on this Thanksgiving. Not that I don’t want to; it’s just that our family has already had our Thanksgiving to-do the first Saturday of this month. Just as she did last year on the actual holiday, our mom wanted to host Thanksgiving again at her senior living apartment building. However, the only spot in said apartment building big enough for all of us — the meeting room — was already booked this day, as well as the Saturdays before and after it. The earliest she could host us was back on November 4. And so, that’s when we all got together: My mom; my stepfather; my sisters and their families; and I, who was assigned (again) to bring pumpkin & apple pies and Cool Whip (the low-fat version, my decision).
What I will definitely do today is think about the things I am thankful for on this particular Thanksgiving Day. The biggest most obvious thing I’m thankful for (outside of my family staying healthy, of course) is that I have employment. Or should I say, I have a work assignment. The 26th of June was the day my previous place of employment told me they no longer needed my services. The month or so after that felt frustrating for me; I wanted so much to get back to work, but I kept getting turned down by one company or another, or at least never heard back from them after applying for their open positions.
So it actually felt pretty good when I heard the magic words from a temp agency late July: We have an assignment you’ll be perfect for. Well, two assignments in fact, one where I filled in for someone at a small business for a week, and the one where I’ve been doing work for a certain charitable organization since the first week of August.
This long-term assignment (and I’m still hesitant to call it a “job”) is not the easiest. Heck, it’s quite difficult and more than challenging. I am literally learning new things as I go while trying to remember what I have already been taught. Oh, and the stern, often abrupt tone of the chief financial officer(!) that I report to does not make my nerves any less calm. It all makes me think to myself virtually everyday, am I really qualified to do all these tasks?
But somehow, I’ve made enough of an impression to continue through this assignment, even after 13 (now 16) weeks. Oh, there’s still a lot of unfamiliar things I need to learn about, and a lot of work to catch up on before the end of the month. But for sure, I’m thankful to not only still have an income keeping a roof over my head and feeding my fashion habit, I’m also thankful that I do have a place of (temp-to-hire) employment I can go to in the morning and head home from in the evening.
And though there are times when I wish I had the type of employment where I could just, for the most part, melt in with the cubicle walls — like what I had before June (“I’m all right with work, so just leave me alone”) — I’m actually thankful in a way that this assignment is proving to be a challenge. This role is showing me (and others) just what I am capable of and what I need to improve upon. That way, if I must leave this assignment for whatever reason, I know I’ll have a much better grasp of my talents than I had before.
But lest you think I’m only thankful for having work, you’re wrong: For starters, I’m thankful that my best friend, J., has a job she can go to every morning. Until the beginning of September, J. had been out of a job for just over a year. The circumstances of her departure from her previous work, along with her job search and a couple other personal ordeal (I won’t get into that here), left her drained by the time a certain insurance company came calling and offered her a year-long assignment. She said yes to their offer! And while she’s feeling the same way about her duties as I am about mine (trying our very best to prove ourselves to those relying on us), we’re both happy to have employment.
J. and I are part of a certain trans/CD support group here in Madison, and we’re both thankful to have had and continue to have the group’s support. Just the same, we’re thankful they accept our support when they need it, including marching with them in a certain LGBT pride parade here in Madison.
Speaking of Madison, I’m still thankful to live in such an awesome, progressive town, high rent and property values notwithstanding. I’m also thankful that the citizenry who’ve encountered me while en femme have not appeared to blink twice at seeing this normal everyday man in a wig and a dress want to present herself as feminine as possible.
Speaking of going out, I am continuously thankful to have the gumption to present myself en femme in person. No, I obviously don’t do it every day. And, no, I haven’t done so in a while apart from support group meetings. But It’s always a great feeling to show my feminine side and be brave when doing so. I do look forward to doing it again, perhaps as soon as this season (there’s a certain holiday party I’m interested in attending next month).
Oh, and of course I’m thankful for the support of you, the reader. As I hinted a couple of posts ago, writing this blog isn’t always easy… but it is always heartwarming to receive feedback of any kind on my writing. Wherever you are and whatever you are, here’s hoping you have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.