I grew up in a small town in the high desert of Southern California. Nestled in a valley were two towns. San Jacinto was a little more rural and that’s where my mom’s second husband’s parents owned a livestock auction. We lived in the more middle class side in a town called Hemet. It was part bedroom community. And part retirement community. I don’t know if this next part was true. But, I tend to believe that it could be. This was the 80’s. So, just about every senior citizen living there had lived through the Great Depression. What’s one thing people who survived the Depression tend to do? They saved money. They wanted to make sure what happened in the 30’s never happened to them again. While not necessarily comparing what I’ve been through in recent years to the Great Depression. I do find myself kind of hoarding things and saving money.
When I was growing up, it was said that the only other street with more money on deposit outside Florida Ave. in Hemet was Wall Street. It’s been years since I’ve been in New York City. And I can’t remember if I actually walked on Wall Street. But, seeing how many banks there were on Florida Ave in the 80’s, I’d tend to believe it.
After going through several years of hiding from the world and making middling amounts of money, I lost a couple of jobs and ended up homeless. I ended up in a women’s homeless shelter in Denver. And later, in transitional housing for female military veterans. They helped me get back on my feet. But, after being out of work for over a year and a half, one thing stayed with me. I feared being back in those situations. I feared working paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. And I most definitely feared not having any income at all. I’m never going back to that. Ever. Again.
When I came back to the U.S. from Jakarta last year, my uncle gave me a place to stay. I’m still renting a room in his house. I’m planning on being here at least another year while I work hard to put the pieces back together.
My uncle has told me I can stay as long as I need. I’m only paying $300 per month in rent. And I’m now working for the Federal Government. Work has been great. I’m just on the verge of earning enough to be able to live on my own or with a roommate. But, there are some extra things I’m doing that will keep me from moving during this next year just to make sure I’ll be okay.
I first started noticing, maybe last summer, that once I had a steady paycheck coming in, I started buying extra staples like toothpaste, deodorant and shaving cream. I quickly realized where this was coming from. But, that didn’t mean I felt secure in stopping. So, I compromised. I started talking to my therapist about this thing I was doing. And I limited myself to ten items. Ten sticks of deodorant, ten bottles of laundry detergent and ten bottles of shampoo. It puts me at ease knowing I’ll be okay with the staples once I’m back on my own.
I’m also setting aside quarters for laundry in a big 5 gallon water bottle. And I’ve opened savings accounts at the local credit union. I’m putting aside money for rent deposit and I’d like to save at least six months worth of rent. But, that’ll be tough since I’m also setting aside money for facial surgery.
I’ll write more about my experience talking with a local surgeon here in Denver. But, I have the breakdown of what everything will cost me. And I’m setting aside money from each paycheck for the purpose of being ready to have the surgery sometime next year.
I don’t even have a car right now. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m itching to buy one. But, parking is such a nightmare at work, that, thankfully, has been keeping my desires for four wheeled transportation at bay. Every time I think about robbing my surgery fund, I think about how one of my coworkers rides a skateboard in from where he parks his car. Thankfully, work pays for a bus pass for me. Because I live more than ten miles, two buses and an hour from work. With the bigger savings goals on my mind, I don’t mind much. Being on the bus for over an hour in each way gives me more time to read (I’m currently reading Rise of the Rocket Girls, which was a birthday gift from a friend).
I have a savings account set aside for a down payment on a car. The only reason I would buy one soon would be to go back to pizza delivery or start driving for Uber to earn more money for surgery and my living on my own savings accounts. But, I haven’t made up my mind on that yet.
Everything was set and working smooth until yesterday. Well, it’s still working smooth. But yesterday, while eating dinner with friends, they mentioned that the people living in the other half of the duplex were leaving and the house would be up for rental. A mutual friend is currently looking for a place to live. And my friends thought it would be perfect since we both get along so well and we’re both trans. I’m currently still living and working as a male. I can’t seem to gain the confidence I need to be myself without facial surgery. And while my uncle is semi-supportive, I don’t even wear female clothes at home. My friends thought this would be a better atmosphere for being myself. But, I’ve already put myself in the mindset that I’ll have to live this way until I can have surgery and/or be on my own. Sure, this will get me out on my own. It’s just coming to early. My rent would double to $600 per month and I’ll have to pay utilities. I’d have to raid my surgery savings to pay the deposit and first month’s rent. Doing that would completely devastate me emotionally. I’m just now beginning to put the pieces together and clinging to the hope that I can finally live as myself sometime in the near future. Moving out now would set me back to far.
I think my friends were expecting more of a jubilant response when they suggested this move. And don’t get me wrong. I get along with all of them and if I was in a better place, I’d probably do it. But, it’s not time for me right now. Maybe it’ll work better in the summer of 2017.