A Turn for the Better

The financial struggles the family have been facing have been mitigated. Yes, we still have a significant hole from which we need to emerge. However, things are beginning to look up for once.

For those few that follow me, you may remember from my last post that my wife’s family had offered a loan with several strings attached. Ultimately, I rejected that offer. My decision brought some dissension from my wife and accusations that I was trying to keep us together, but her argument was baseless. In fact, I am working to make myself strong, which by extension, helps the family. While turning down the loan was difficult, a long-time member of my transgender support group I have attended for years offered an effectively no-strings-attached loan. In combination with a significant tax refund (due to my financial planning), the family suddenly had about what it required to float us through the beginning of my new job. After months of penny-pinching, now we could take a breath and pinch dimes instead. The rent can be paid on time.

Speaking of jobs, I resigned from the retail job I held for just over the last 3 1/2 years because I officially began said new job as a government employee. The new position comes with a major pay increase compared to my retail supervisor position and includes a detailed benefits package. Provided I stay in this sector, I could theoretically comfortably retire from here in the distant future (scary thought!). Part of me will miss my retail job—mainly the people interactions. Team Members and regular Guests were sad to see me leave on my last day. One of my Team Members even made me a cupcake cake, which she then hand-decorated! My new position is still very much people-based, though. Unlike retail, however, I will have the ability to change people’s lives in meaningful ways. Truly, the job is a good fit for my personality.

I am now in the fourth week of a 6-month training course. For the first time in years, I enjoy going to work. I feel valued for my opinions and questions; other students/employees approach me for help. Most everyone in my class is smart, engaging, and fun, which leads to a positive work environment. Further, this job has set break schedules and runs fairly standard office hours with paid holidays. The upshot for me: I get to come home and spend time with my children at dinner and before they go to bed, and the stresses of working busy weekends is a thing of the past.

This change is clearly positive. My work-life balance is normalizing for the first time in years. My commute is manageable. I am happier. The money and benefits this position provides and the expected increases in the future have the ability to put me in a position for not just short-term stability but long-term, too. Further, now that I have been entered into the “system,” I have flexibility for growth in whatever direction I want to go.

For my wife, this change to our dynamic is unsettling. She is happy that I have a more stable job. However, I now make more money than she does, will be providing benefits for the family, and have potential stability in my future. While for any other couple this all would be stellar news, as someone who wants out of the house, she feels all of these positives for me are a negative for her. Her effectively part-time job is not enough to support herself and the children (even half-time). My retail job put me in that same position; my government job might be a way out for me. As such, she has fears she will end up on the street. I do not believe that will be her end result, but I do know she will need to take action to improve her standing. That will be easier said than done given her history of depression. I will emotionally support her as much as she will allow, but ultimately, with a separation imminent, the decisions will ultimately be hers.

I have worked very hard to get to where I am today. Four years ago, I was depressed and unemployed. I was on the verge of coming out to my wife as questioning. Three years ago, I had just begun hormones and was going through one of the most tumultuous times of my life. Two years ago, I was officially changing my name & gender with the courts. Now, I am at a place where no one knows me any other way than Gabrielle. As I look to my future, I begin to see a way out of debt, which in turn, leads to further opportunities.

My focus this year has been on self-care and hopefulness. So far, so good. Things are looking up. People see the positive shift in my demeanor. I feel happier. Acquiring this job is most decidedly a turning point for me.

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