I definitely gambled what I shouldn’t have—while I could gamble on getting a new job (I had the savings to live off of till I got that first paycheck), my housing definitely not something I really should have.

My life has gotten so toxic, to the point I was no longer motivated. Depression was never ending, and talking with a therapist wouldn’t help because my life was a constant cycle of toxicity, dead ends, hypocrisy, inconsistency. Constant dealing with spite, bigotry, harassment at work that was going unanswered. Anxiety occurring so regularly I had to take aspirin daily to keep the inflammation it was causing minimized. Ulcers. Insomnia. Worsening mood swings.

A sunset I managed to capture from days when I worked with a better team before management and other serious changes fucked things up for me.

Things needed to change.

After completing another overnight shift on our crazy-ass rotation shift, I had a last-second video interview that I managed to negotiate because it was a job offer with DFTBA Records in Missoula, MT. I don’t like using Microsoft or Google services at all, given the Apple fanboy this I am, but whatever. I could conduct the interview via Safari on my iPad, that’s all that mattered.

Never had I had an interview about three days after submitting my résumé before. I was expecting about 2-3 weeks to pass, if I even got the chance. This position was across the country; I’m a redneck hailing from across the country in a small Jersey town—I figured like hell they’d take me in.

Shit, this brother got the job.

Maybe you’ve heard about “The Great Resignation”, of millennials and many younger Gen Xers quitting their job because this pandemic finally pushed us over the edge—we are tired of poor management, being taken for granted, of increasing workloads but not being compensated for it. I got denied a promotion twice because I wasn’t being trained and certified by a coworker like they should’ve been doing; because I wasn’t “qualified”, the opening to be given to some shmuck off the street because they had family already working there. (Two notes: I didn’t hate the person who got the job, I just hate that I got passed over for them. Also, if you know who I worked for, go ahead and enjoy your snacks, it means nothing to me.) I got denied another position because I wasn’t allowed to switch teams, shifts, or departments. My training was put on hold because I made a harassment claim; even higher management wasn’t returning my emails when I followed up! (And, they thought I was confusing my training with being taken advantage of, fuck no I did not!)

The apathy I eventually developed just cut not to the bone, but also poisoned my bone marrow. I did the barest amount that was required of my job, instead of giving it my all and then some. I called out sick frequently, went home early if it was convenient for me. I bitched, I griped, I complained, I gossiped. Motivation was officially nil; I had no desire to even perform overtime to cover for others because I was more emotionally than physically drained at the end of a rotation (my job was physically demanding, btw!) and saw no point burning myself to the ground for a position I could easily be replaced with.

For the people in my life who contributed to my worsening depression… I even had one coworker who didn’t take me seriously as a man, who didn’t consider me “straight” because I’m a transsexual, who said I would not be considered a “real” man in the military because I have no penis. Says they weren’t racist … then made a racist statement. Made remarks whenever we had to undergo sensitivity, diversity, harassment trainings. Always trashed the fact I use Apple products. All this on top of that person who was supposed to train me but kept blaming me for their inability to do their job.

So … I asked to start a week late because I would be driving across the country, not taking the plane. During those few days, the elation of escaping a toxic job was not just liberating and elating, but euphoric. Cherishing the little things like music, the flora at truck stops, any music I could listen to came back to me.

However, a few days after I got settled in while staying at a local motel, I almost threw in the towel and was ready to give up, Housing was worse than expected, and checking ads for roommates showed few rooms being offered, and people who want a roommate but didn’t have a place yet to offer. While I was willing to work hard to find an apartment, put down more for a deposit or for a few months upfront (as I got bad credit) … I was not willing to go homeless for this SEASONAL job with the temperature beginning to dip. Yea, this meant to my one-horse town back in Jersey, but I will always have a home to return to.

An off-campus location that caters primarily to students was willing to work with me, but needed proof of employment. Their monthly rent was way more than I wanted to pay for as a roommate. Um … it took my new boss a few days before I could forward the proof. I didn’t admit it was seasonal. I just needed somewhere to move into. I still had enough savings to tighten my belt and live month to month.

A few nights after moving in … it’s concept known as ”single resident occupancy”; while once common, it’s not as much anymore. I share a 2-bedroom apartment, where we are each responsible for our own leases. We share a kitchen and den, but our own bathrooms and bedrooms we keep locked while away. I live in the bougie part of town, how the hell did I get so lucky?! I almost wrestled about the parking situation, but I only have to pay during the weekdays—while I’m at work. (Just means remembering where the hell I parked my car each morning, and hunting extra hard on Friday nights when everyone else is on the town.)

Even if I don’t secure a permanent position at my new gig, it was the chance of a lifetime to get out of the corner I was being backed into. I saw the window I could jump out of, and did. I hoped someone noticed and could grab me before I crash landed, and they did.

This would have been something 18-year-old me would’ve done. Having gone through ”second puberty” for almost 5-6 years, it’s like coming out of adolescence all over again, only this time I do have the life experience necessary to make sure I don’t make a stupid decision that could leave me a desperate or abusive situation like last time.

There are trails, daily and weekend local events, all kinds of things to do and see. I live, work, and shop in the same area now. I have and am already am making new friends. There’s a local LGBT center I don’t have to drive far to visit. I can get HRT locally, not travel two hours away or do entirely telemedically. There’s also new things I have to learn—reservation policies and politics, Mexican-American culture (unlike the Caribbean-descended people who dominate back in Jersey), dealing with country music as the most popular genre, a town that is even whiter than the backwood boonies I’m from.

There are sidewalks around town to enjoy a nice after-dinner walk. I have a gym in my complex. I am not around candy all day. Responsible for my own shopping, it’s easier to stick to a budget by just getting foods I need. No way I can’t lose weight for good this time!

It’s the start of a whole new adventure—one that’s positive and looking upward. It won’t be like last time; I won’t let that happen. I won’t forget how to be awesome again.

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