Today’s post will have me being quite honest about what I think of myself, and so will sound rather arrogant and entitled. Heck, it’ll probably be a bit arrogant and entitled. Sorry in advance, I suppose? Let me say ahead of time that I’m aware all the positive things about myself don’t make me better than anyone else, and that I don’t think I’m worth more than any other human (save like, Hitler cause you know, at least I’m not literally Hitler).
Anywho. Today at work I started crying and I felt furious thinking about my current situation. Sure, I moved out of my parents’ house a couple of years before people in my society are expected to, and I’m renting out part of a beautiful apartment in a nice neighbourhood. Some would say I have my life figured out a bit.
However, I am working at a call centre. It can certainly be an interesting job, and it’s developed skills I didn’t realise I had. Ultimately though, it’s not that difficult, and doesn’t require much creativity or ingenuity.
I’ve been working at my company for nearly a year and a half. Most of that time I took customer service calls for a phone company in the US. Now I’m taking calls for something related to health care. The training took 3 months rather than the usual 3 weeks because of how difficult it was, and our first week certainly showed that. Even I, with my ability to learn quickly, and my excellent call handling skills, struggled. I remember getting home wanting to cry for hours because of how hard it was. By the second week things had calmed down a bit; I still struggled, but things felt manageable. Then the third week rolled around, and I remember feeling so happy.
Here was a job that no longer felt impossible, but was still quite difficult and challenging. I was learning a LOT every single day, and while I ended up mentally exhausting by the time I got home, I felt satisfied.
Then the fourth week came, and I still felt happy, but I was having more days that dragged on like they did at my old campaign. Then the fifth week, and the sixth…
I am, at the moment, the single best agent in the whole campaign. I’m leading everyone else in every single performance metric, and I’m not even trying that hard. Of course, I make sure to do a good job, and I try to have a good attitude in every call, but I’m mostly just running on auto-pilot. I hesitate to even talk to anyone else about how bored I am, because I know most everyone else still feels frustrated about how difficult it is.
This is part of why I felt so angry and disappointed today. There’s no shame in working at a call centre, and it is a job that deserves a lot more respect that it gets. However, I’m clearly not living to my potential. I’m an extremely quick learner, and I grasp complicated concepts relatively easily. I have excellent memory (for facts and processes, anyway), and I excel at anything I try to do.
I know I would be an excellent graphic designer if I was hired at a firm and managed to get more experience, and I know I’d be a brilliant translator, and artist, and biologist, and most anything else, if I had the chance to be any of that.
And here we have the larger source of my anger and frustration: I didn’t have that chance. I was born transgender, and for most of my life that’s drained me of motivation and emotional energy. I had to live with constant dysphoria, and I could barely function, nevermind fully take every opportunity that came my way. Then when I got older and started to think about my future, I only had one goal. There was no focus on college, no career path, no chance for me to set a solid foundation for my future. There was only transition. I needed to come out of the closet, start hormone replacement therapy, and start living as myself. That’s all that mattered.
Surprisingly, I managed it. When I was 21 years old, I did what little Lily could only hopelessly dream of: I made the woman in my head real to the outside world, and I lived authentically for the first time ever. It was brilliant, of course, but to achieve it I had to sacrifice a lot.
I moved out of my religious parents’ house because they’d made it clear they wouldn’t support me. I took my current job because I needed a solid source of income, which I wouldn’t have at my old job at a conservative Christian school. I said goodbye to any hope of studying design further, because my money needed to go towards food, and shelter, and building up a basic wardrobe (since you know, I couldn’t wear the clothing I’d gathered till then in my life). I also had to let go of my dreams of working for a design agency, or doing freelance work. I had too many expenses as a newly financial independent woman, and an entry level job in design would never pay enough to sustain me.
So, because of some fucking developmental accident, I wasn’t born with a body to match my mind and identity, and so lost any chance of living to my full potential. It hurts to see my old college friends enjoy successful careers in design while I’m working at a fucking call centre. I hate seeing how much they’ve achieved professionally, and how they’re getting to push themselves further and develop their creativity while I float by in life as a big fish in a diminutive pond.
I’m sick of excelling in mediocrity. I know I could be capable of so, so much. I’m incredibly talented, and intelligent, and creative. I could excel at anything…
I remember a friend in high school telling me she was looking forward to seeing where I’d be in the future, because I clearly had a big future.
Well, here I am 6 years later, doing fuck all, and not living to a hundredth of my potential.
I’m crying while writing this, and I genuinely don’t know if I’m more sad than I am angry at life for fucking me over.
Yeah, I know I’m still incredibly privileged, and that people with larger difficulties have overcome bigger obstacles. Maybe that’s what’s bothering me the most; the knowledge that despite the shitty cards I’ve been dealt, I’m the only one responsible for my utter failure, and how unsatisfied I feel with my achievements and job.
What a depressing thought.