Overly Personal Rant: America Sucks a Bit

02/10/2011

And now, to complete tonight’s trifecta of ranting, I present an overly personal, possibly embarrassing emotional response to my current situation.

This rant will be bitter, unfair, even less focused than my usual posts, and probably a giant emo mess.

If that doesn’t sound like your bag of tea, I encourage, nay urge you to skip this one.

Honestly, this is just me airing some personal demons because keeping them bottled inside has been affecting my day-to-day mental health.

Okay, deep breath.

My life currently sucks.

If you’ve been at all following my blog or were a member of a blog where I used to be a more frequent poster (cough, pharyngula, cough) you’ve noticed that I’ve been doing a lot less posting. What have I been doing with the time otherwise spent posting things on the internet?

Looking for work.

I’ve been unemployed since my return to this country after gaining my master’s degree, so about 8 months now. Said months have been entirely on the poverty line where me and my partner have been playing a game of chicken with the clock just trying to avoid eviction and homelessness, often on the back of assistance by friends and family.

Now, I am very grateful for that help, but the whole situation has been soul-destroying in a way that is hard to translate into words.

Sending at times up to 20 resumes in a single day simply to receive nothing back in turn. Spending one’s days doing “everything right” in how one sends out one’s resumes and applications, spending over 8 hour days just working on job searching and getting little but “wow, you’re pretty experienced” from resume helpers and static from the actual companies I apply for, even the retail positions.

These actions infect you, no matter how strong you assumed your self-esteem or individualist streak to be. You start questioning your own worth. Inner demons of low-self-esteem, anxiety, terror at the void, become consuming. You start to wake up every morning, heart-automatically beating fast as you hope that this day you’ll at least have an interview.

In 8 months of searching, I have sent out over 1000 applications in a variety of fields. I have received 3 total interviews. One is up in the air, possibly destroyed by a recent “distraction” and “compromise” involving further slashing the California Education budget. Another was dismayed that being a full-time student that I had only managed to get 3+ years of academic lab experience (i.e. job experience in labs run by Universities) rather than industry experience and thus might not be suited for their entry level position doing essentially what I did for my master’s thesis. The third was a seasonal retail stint that was my sole breath of employment.

During this time, I have neglected self care. Only recently have I begun fighting myself and started to consider investing time in side-projects to keep myself sane while I search. One of whom I hope to bring to this site by year’s end.

Of course, it’s easy to understand the fixation. Unlike Denmark, whose cozy culture I grew very comfortable with in my two year’s abroad, there is no safety net here in America.

If I can’t find a job, the welfare system may throw me a few pennies to use for feeding myself mayonnaise while living in a box on the street. Unlike Denmark’s system, I will not receive a minimum living wage until I can manage to secure full-time employment.

Considering our capitalist system requires that a certain percentage of the population be unemployed at any given time and that we’ve even begun deluding ourselves by changing how we count “unemployed” people so the numbers don’t look as bad, you’d think it critical that we actually allow such people the chance to survive, but then, that would require us to give a shit about whether people live or die.

Lack of employment holds far greater weight than just that.

Lack of employment also means lack of health insurance.

Well, more or less. I mean, the anemic HRC passed means that I, for only a brief time more, have access to my parent’s health insurance. Which they “have”, from working a decent enough middle class job.

Except, despite the reforms, my parent’s health insurance is an open scam. Any attempt to actually use it guarantees requiring out-of-service doctors as few medical providers have even heard of the health insurance company in question. There is little way to contact a human at the providing company and the company refuses to pay any medical bill acquired, leaving one essentially the same as one without medical insurance.

Neither me or my parents can afford to get sick or injured at the moment and my parents have been unable to help me out in my quest for survival as they’ve been finding this out with a minor hospital bill.

Whether this will change when “things go into effect” in 2012 remains to be seen, but it’s a reason I bristle sometimes at those who want to pretend that HRC “ended” the debate on health care. The “fix” fixed nothing.

Now, lack of health insurance is something a lot in my generation have had to deal with. It’s a common state of things for those under 30, but for me, there’s another stabbing wound caused by this situation.

I’m transgendered.

Now, not every transgendered person seeks medical or hormone therapy to be who they are.

However, I really want said therapy. One could say I desperately need such therapy. I’m coping the best I can, but each continued week with no interviews, no real hope of an end to this current state of being, I have to face inner demons.

Will I ever have access to hormones? Will I ever have access even to one-on-one therapy? How long must I delay being myself, dragging the edge of my gender dissonance against the ground especially with the attacks of low self-esteem and self-hatred caused by the cultural shock of returning to the States and it’s lack of social support network.

These are not light questions and while I’ve tried to make use of what resources I can, I can’t escape the fact that my life is on hold, in Hell, until I can not only find a job, but one with either inclusive health insurance or a damn fine paycheck that I can afford counseling and hormones on my own.

The belief that this will happen soon, much less at all, is rapidly draining.

And this coincides with the fact that this country is a gender-segregated mess that assaults my gender dissonance ever fucking time I head out, which demands I lie and feel inhuman every time I fill out an application for a job.

Seriously, this culture enforces the gender divide stronger than I remembered before leaving. Everything is gender coded and even single-stall toilets are carefully divided into a male and a female restroom even when it would be easier simply to label them bathrooms and let them be gender neutral.

Most every application has required identification by sex, causing a strong question and a bout of depression every fucking time I send out one. I send out several a day.

Worse than that, is the other ways the applications force one to lie and betray oneself.

I don’t know if many others have sent out retail applications lately, but retail applications have begun to do some pretty close to illegal bullshit in their “personality tests” of late.

Sure, there’s the usual pablum about whether you think customers are god’s chosen people and whether you think stealing is worse than stabbing someone to death for stealing.

But there is also direct questions intended to weed out anyone with depression, anxiety, or disabilities as unworthy of employment, basically asking everyone to be sunny and nimble like a fox just to be worthy of consideration.

Worse than that though is that the questions have recently been asking very carefully worded questions basically making sure one is conservatively minded and lacks liberal tendencies.

Not just the already questionable “are you a supporter of unions” type bullshit, but questions about whether one trusts current political leaders, what one thinks of current political issues, and what one thinks about the goodness of capitalism in all things and it’s inability to ever do wrong or the inability of a company to ever work against the interests of its workers.

Oh yeah, you better act like you love the taste of Free Market Jesus if you want employment at any retail chain in the good old USA.

So that’s what we got, a mess of a situation, bereft of social net, bereft of necessary medical care, tortured by the situation to the point where it is a daily battle against my own suicidal tendencies, and a number of political debate centers around things that spell life or death for me and those close to me…

Or it would, but instead it’s a bunch of Republicans trying to kill me and a bunch of Democrats trying to figure out how to help me so little that the Republicans will stop calling them socialists.

And frankly, America sucks right now. My life sucks.

This shouldn’t happen. We shouldn’t allow so many people to be on such a thin razor for everything.

We need a functional social safety net in this country. We need real genuine stipends, equal to a minimum living wage to the unemployed and underemployed and if that seems like a lot of people, then we better damn start employing some people.

We need real reform of the broken health care system, one where the current crop of scam artists have no input (not to punish them, but because they make their money by finding means to provide zero health care).

We need real reform in how we treat minorities, so that one can be themselves on their own terms, instead of forcing themselves through Hell on the off-chance that they’ll eventually be comfortable enough that it makes “financial sense”.

We need to care whether people live or die, prosper or suffer, thrive or collapse.

Coming home to America should have been joyous. A time to reunite with loved ones and be glad. It shouldn’t have been a nightmare that makes me wonder how stupid I was to ever make such a daft mistake.

America is not the best of all current systems.

It is the most broken, hideous, heinous system in the developed world and it is my firm belief that there is no reason why that should be the case.

We can be better. We should be better.

And I hope to fight all my life to try and make what is happening to me an archaic unthinkable notion.

But for now. Life sucks.

America sucks.

Rant over.

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3 Responses to “Overly Personal Rant: America Sucks a Bit”

  1. radfemrachel said

    As a feminist I guess it’s a catch 22 as if you jobhunt as a transwoman you’re immediately less likely to get a job because of transphobia and sexism but if you apply for a job using a male name and turn up for interviews presenting as a male you’re much more likely to get the job but unfortunately do so only by benefitting directly from cismale privilege.

    • cerberustheasexual said

      Oh I fully understand that. The problem is that the situation has burned all shame out of me. Some jobs I’ve been able to be honest out of the gate and I certainly have pursued those opportunities the hardest, but well… I need to eat, I need to continue to have shelter. It’s a pretty shit choice and it’s another stab in the chest that I made the decision to sacrifice integrity and so far it’s been for naught.

  2. Ily said

    Seriously, I love rants, especially ones I agree with 🙂 I think your emotions are perfectly proportional to the situation. Looking for a job is crazy-making, to put it lightly.

    Or it would, but instead it’s a bunch of Republicans trying to kill me and a bunch of Democrats trying to figure out how to help me so little that the Republicans will stop calling them socialists.

    This is a fabulous way to put it. I feel so frustrated with America right now. And I also hate those retail personality tests. When I was a college student, I couldn’t get a job at a video store because I failed the test. How stupid is that? And this was before the economy got really bad. If you want to cheat, I’m pretty sure you can search for “Unicru answers” online.

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