Recurse Center: Six Weeks, Half A Batch (Not Even Two Months) - Part 2, Life

What's it been like in NYC, at Recurse Center? Great, and I think that's saying a lot considering how much has gone wrong- it's just that so much *more* has gone right! I'm going to start off with some more words about Recurse Center, to follow up from the first part.

I've been getting everything I've been needing as a programmer, as a person, from my stay here. Being at Recurse Center puts me around like 60 other programmers who have as much interest in getting good at it as me, on a daily basis! It's made me realize how draining so many of the people I knew from my computers degree were. Most of them fumbled around and just wanted to get me to do their homework, so they could go back to talking shit. How the heck could I have had space to think as a programmer, much less a human being? I had to go to student clubs to get the latter, and as great and big they were at my college, it felt difficult to do so. (Note: if you're reading this and you were in my degree, you weren't one of the "brogrammers" I'm complaining about here- if you were, I'd have dropped you from my life by now.)

What helps social life at Recurse Center are their social rules. I haven't heard them called out much, but that's because for the most part, people have been thinking before speaking, and/or are already on the ball when it comes to social justice in everyday conversation. The only thing that bothers me is casual ableism, which I don't feel comfortable bringing up when I hear it.

Regardless, I just love that at Recurse Center, for the first time in my life, I'm completely surrounded by other people who I can *really* talk to about computers, without having to spend most of the conversation explaining, or being judged for relatively novice knowledge. I can talk about computers with people who already know what I'm talking about, or can tell me something new. I can show my code to other people and not get confusion, or questions like "why would you do this in a way I wouldn't?"- the standard response when searching the net for help.

Being around so many people also just gives me a lot of room for talking to people, and hanging out. As much as I loved student clubs back in my home city, after I dropped college they were all I had offline. My life's done a complete 180 with how much I do, in the past couple of months. Instead of spending most of my time on the computer feeling too bored to work, I've had little free time- but it's actually been a good thing, because I've just been doing so much! Recurse Center gives me a good reason to wake up at 9am.

That's just half of living here, though. I've spent most of my time at Recurse Center, but I'm still in NYC! Getting to my current sublet was one of the hardest things I've had to do for this trip, as unfortunately many renters are hostile to couples, even though I could have paid the whole stay upfront. But whatever, me and decky got a place at the last moment and it's been working out. The bigger issue now is staying in budget- I knew NYC was expensive, but I didn't realize just how tough it was. I don't understand how anybody can afford eating out every day, since now I get fast-food / pizza only a couple times a week. It'll work out, but it's probably going to get tight by the end. And considering how harsh NYC can be, that's fine by me.

Living with decky has been so, so worth it, too.

It has been strange, but probably partly from defending against the stress of moving here, how easily I've gotten accustomed to radically changing my daily schedule to manage myself here. I don't miss my home at all. Not that I don't want to go back, but it just feels the same like I've stepped out for a walk. It certainly helps that no matter what, I'm coming back on the 1st of June. I wonder if I'll be able to get back into my old lifestyle easily, but if I've shifted this much no problem, I suppose I can do it again. Something hanging around this is also a change of diet. I'm not getting quite as much variety as I did back home, but I'm having consistent set ups for meals, as well as almost no sugar candy. That's something I need to stick to hard when I move back!

The hardest thing going back though is losing the ability to be Nikki Bee to everybody 24/7. I want to do that as soon as I can back in Calgary, and I certainly do around my friends. But that's not enough. If I deal with my college again, it's going to be under my real name. When I look for work, it's damn well going to be as Nikki. I can't back down on this because it'll destroy me, or at least haunt me for life when I have job/school references I can't ever use. Jobs feel stressful enough as it is, since I've never gotten a foot in the door anywhere I've tried, and the best I can get down here is a job contracting from Canada, if I get that at all.

I can tell it's already going to be hard to get a job, especially since I'm a trans woman. I know how little regard work places are going to have for me because of that, but my other option is hiding it and hating myself for it. But either I have a hard(er) time getting a job, or I'm miserable at whatever I do get. Not much of a choice there, and I'd rather go with the one that'll give me an easier time later.

Well, that's what I have. Thanks for reading, again.

- written and posted March 29, 2015.

Part 1 is here!

Back To Top

Back To Articles

Back To Main Page