Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Shedding of Heterosexual Privilege

As a short follow up to something I mentioned last time, today I "came out" at work.

Just chatting with my boss about planning holidays and the conversation went something like this.

ME: Yeah, we'll have to have a think about when I should take time off as J--'s writing up so can't just look after him full time.
HIM: J--, that's your boyfriend isn't it?
ME: (blushing and avoiding eye contact even more than usual) Girlfriend, actually.
HIM: (a beat) Oh. (embarrassed) Sorry.
ME: (embarrassed) S'ok.

And then we carried on as before. I don't know why I was so worried, although I'm still kind of dreading the inevitable conversation about who the Terror's father is then. But only kind of. The fact that this even bothers me at all is an uncomfortable reminder of how easy I've had it so far - the heteronormative assumptions that underpin so much casual social conversation used to work in my favour too and now I feel like I ought to give a brief bio whenever I first meet someone.

Or just get a t-shirt with "My son's daddy is my girlfriend" on it or something.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Life, and other complications

I think work is still going well. A couple of panics but no real complaints so far. I still feel a bit uncomfortable and not confident enough to take charge and suggest things that would make my life easier, but then I suppose I am technically a temp and who knows how long it'll last. Even if my immediate boss at least talks as if I'm going to stay (unless tempted away by better job). But it's good to have something to do, even if I'm tired for the rest of the day afterwards, and I'm managing not to eat too many cakes.

Slowly trying to make other changes to routine, but mostly everything seems rushed and panicky until suddenly I have nothing left to do that day. Falling asleep earlier in the evenings means I never seem to have much time to watch things, and I'm falling behind with reading too. Roleplaying has just stopped, but we still play board games so that's ok. I'm just getting scared about how fast this year is going by. Have a strange sense of unreality a lot of the time, but that could just be the tiredness I suppose. It does feel like I've wandered into someone else's life though. Especially when I catch myself happily chatting with boss at work or going to talk about volunteering at the local environment centre (although whether I'll really have the energy to....) or doing anything else that a few years ago would have seemed like an impossibility. Or when I stop and look at the Terror and think "That's my son. I'm his mother," and other such mind-boggling truths.

I really am beginning to suspect this "growing up" thing is just a myth.

I still end up shaking after making a phone call though. I still jump when the phone rings (at home and at work) and put off answering it as long as I dare. I still find myself being too shy to strike up conversations, even with people I know reasonably well. And, despite a lot of bravado online and in my head about sticking up for who I am and not being cowed by social expectations, I still can't bring myself to correct my bosses' assumption that my SO is male. And now it's got to the stage of being even more awkward to say anything without the whole "well why didn't you say something earlier?" response. Although possibly what I find worse is the knowledge that in their position I'd make exactly the same assumption.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

What A Difference A Week Makes

Last Friday I was, oh I don't know, probably lounging around trying to motivate myself to pack and get things sorted before going away for the night. Being lazy and playing lots of computer games (Online Dominion, I'm looking at you). Tomorrow I'll be going to work at my new job.

The night away was another trip up to Durham to stay at my parents so they could babysit while my SO and I went to a friend's 30th birthday party. We're all getting old now. The best bit (although always good to see R again) was getting to see her best mate from uni that neither of us had seen in something like eight years. Although I didn't get to talk to him, our girlfriends sat chatting quite happily while I strained to hear anything over the loud (but good) music. It was a good night, anyway, and I didn't get too drunk, which is just as well as the Terror woke me up at Unearthly O'clock in the morning. Saturday we bimbled and went home late, watching Doctor Who after tucking the boy up in bed. Sunday was nice enough and we even managed to pick up a couple of comics leftover from Free Comic Book Day. People came round to play 40K and the Terror got to watch a bit - he's dead set on getting an Ork army, although I doubt he has the patience (or skill) to build and paint them.

Monday was when it all started. I trawled the Jobseekers as I usually do, found one ad for a data entry position and sent off my email. An hour or so later I got a phone call from the agency asking for more details and explaining a bit about the job and telling me they were passing on my details to the company. This led to a frantic chase to make sure CV was ok in .doc format (don't ask) and to find and scan and email my passport and qualification certificates. Then I relaxed a bit, happy someone hadn't immediately gone "over-qualified, under-experienced" and passed me over.

Tuesday I get a phone call from the man at company asking me to come for interview. He gives convoluted directions (as he assumed I'd be driving) and I say I can make it and then panic a bit afterwards while I try and figure out how. I spend rest of day in shock from stress and my SO looks after me, even sorting out and ironing clothes for me to wear. Realise I can make it, even after going to other arranged meeting about volunteering at St Nicholas Fields. Start to relax just a little.

Wake up early on Wednesday and feel fairly ok. I know where I'm going, it should all be fine. Worst comes to worst, I don't get job and can't do anything useful volunteering-wise. Back to square one, not a problem really. Meeting at St Nick's started off well enough and then a minor crisis cropped up which he had to go deal with. I waited for a bit, with everyone being very apologetic, until he came back and said he was sorry but he really needed to go speak to someone else....So we agreed to sort things out by email and maybe meet up another time or whatever. Because I'd finished there early I could go home and catch my breath before going to the bus - and more importantly go buy milk to break into the tenner I had. And then I could go catch earlier bus. After hanging around at the bus stop for a bit, I decided to walk over to Heslington Road and maybe catch a bus there. One turned up and that's when I realised I'd left my purse at home after getting back from the shop.

I ran.

I grabbed purse.

I made it back to original bus stop in time to sit down, count out change, and then stand up quickly as bus I'd originally planned to get came. I at least then got a bit of a sit down before getting off at the station and trying to find my way to this place. It wasn't as far away as I thought and I would have been early if I hadn't bottled out and retraced my steps to ask someone for directions. Once there, I was a bit out of breath (it was hot) and nervous but somehow managed to catch someone's attention and remember the name of the man I was supposed to be seeing. It was pretty plain sailing from there. I babbled a bit, tried not to play down my computer skills too much while still being honest, tried to divert attention from my lack of experience. I got shown a short-cut back to the station and everyone I'd spoken to there seemed nice and friendly. I left feeling it had gone well and if they decided to go with the other person, I could be pretty sure it wasn't because I'd come across as a raging lunatic or an idiot. We celebrated with wine that evening, and played Dominion because I'm kind of fed up of trying to run D&D and C won't play Robo Rally. The spoilsport.

This morning I got a call from the agency, who hadn't even known I'd been interviewed until the guy told them he'd decided to go with me.

I have a job.

It's part-time, flexible hours that fit in with childcare.

It's only temporary for now, but the company is still getting organised and may or may not have more work for me in the long-run.

It's the other side of town but I can get there.

I have a job.

I have a freaking job.