Both for some work, and now for a bit of peace of mind.
I don't like the idea that women are inherently more emotional than men. I was a really moody guy, but society didn't encourage me to show it. Since I've been a woman, I've cried plenty, but over things that I would've liked to feel okay crying about as a man. Since I am a woman, though, I now know there are certain things that set me off more than they would have as a man.
Last weekend, Mom and I ventured out to New Jersey for Jana's baby shower. Some of Jana's female friends, co-workers and relatives were there. The only one I had met before was Jana's mother, who I remembered from the wedding talking about how she always wanted a sister for Jana, a comment that baffled me then and unnerves me now. Jana has four brothers, all older, and her mother asked if I was single and thankfully the answer is no.
It was a nice event, I mingled some, but inevitably the large topic of conversation is babies. Up until now I've just thought of it as "Oh, I get to be Aunt Tori now, that's really cool." But suddenly I started thinking of it as "Someone I know is about to be a mom. Someone's gong to call her mom. And someday... it might happen to me."
I never thought about kids when I was Cliff. I spent all those years dating a woman who wouldn't let me see her naked. We talked about getting married, but it was always somehow in the future, and I was frankly afraid of proposing, for reasons that turned out to be very appropriate. I thought being a dad might be cool but it never really seemed to be a pressing question.
And the same has been true of my life as Tori. Sometimes I make the joke, when I get my period, "Another month of beating the odds" (not really since we're really good with birth control.) As serious as Alex and I are, I have definitely eased off the commitment gas pedal, because I am not "that girl." Maybe we'll get married, and I guess if we do, kids are an option. No stress. Take it easy.
But then I got to this party and talked to some of these women. Some were young, and were looking forward to getting pregnant in the near future. Some were older and had kids, and shared their stories. And then some of them... these older women who never had kids, who had this air of disappointment about them, because of it. Women who got to their Fifties, never married, and then gave up.
I'm not saying I think that'll be me. I'm not saying I'm worried about never having kids if I want them. I'm saying suddenly I'm aware of the pressure women put on themselves... how many women define themselves by reproducing! It's insane. And guys just don't. Motherhood is seen by a lot of women as this sacred, important duty, and fatherhood is just something that happens. I worry about other women thinking negatively of me if I choose not to... and I worry about if I somehow can't. I don't know. It was all very confusing.
Later, I wanted to talk to Alex about it, but I couldn't outright have a conversation about wanting kids. I didn't want to scare him or anything. I didn't even want to talk about that. I just wanted some kind of reassurance.
Instead, when I got home, I went over to his place and I asked if he had given any more thought to living together. I felt like maybe I could that as a way of reassuring myself about the future.
"I have," he said. "I just don't see the rush. We're good the way we are, aren't we? We don't need to make it a big financial thing. You're a smart, independent woman. You don't need to depend on me."
I had absolutely no idea what he was going on about, whether it was my independence or his that he was really talking about. I spent all day imagining what it would be like to grow a person inside me, and then had to realize that my long term boyfriend doesn't think much of co-habitation.
I had a good cry that night.
The next day, I had a couple of job interviews. Sure, I'm in emotional turmoil, but I had to look good for my interviews. Straighten your hair, put on some eyeliner, perk up your boobs and wear some heels that make your butt look good: chances are, even if the interviewer isn't a man, they'll appreciate the effort.
Since none of the corporate jobs I envisioned are really hiring, I widened my search to the retail sector. I need to pay bills, even if it's bagging groceries. Fortunately, I won't be doing that. I got a job selling phones at the mall. I made it a point to do as much research as I could before I applied, and I think the owner (a man) liked the idea of getting some eye candy who could actually sell the phones. I start tomorrow, but I'm only booked for about 12 hours a week for the probation period, which means I'm still not covering everything.
Still... it'll keep my head above water for a bit longer.