Before I began this process, I read time and time again that I should be ready to be ostracized, lose my family, my children, my friends, be fired, and/or be homeless or end up having to live with 4 other transgender people in a one-bedroom apartment. It can scare the absolute crap out of you if you allow it to.

I am here to tell you, that it doesn't need to be that way.

I came out to company management a couple of days ago. The night before, I wasn't able to fall asleep until 11:30 PM. I woke up at 3 AM and didn't go back to sleep. I drank 4 cappuccinos (!!!) at home and stressed until it was time to go to work. My meeting was at 11 AM, and around 10, I felt the emotions coming. I called a very close friend and let it out to her... through my tears I told her how at no time, in this process, was I ever scared, until now. And I was. I was scared. I didn't have any doubt about what I had to do, but I was scared. Letting that emotion out on the phone really helped.  I needed to get it out before the meeting.  We don't need a drama queen in the office.  Anyway, I felt much better, and didn't feel scared anymore.  I just needed to get it out.

I met with our HR director, and long story short, I had absolutely nothing to worry about. She had already guessed this about me... the first words out of her mouth after I told her what she already knew, were "we are here to support you and make this as smooth a process as possible." (!!!)  I'm the first person that has transitioned at my medium-size company of around 400 people.  Since this was new to her, she took it upon herself to do quite a bit of proactive learning/research before our meeting. I can't say enough about that, or the manner in which handled the meeting itself. I explained what was going on with me, my plan, and a rough timeline. We met for about 90 minutes. The whole thing was collaborative, cooperative, and it could not have gone any better. I left our meeting an ecstatic and optimistic. I emailed her with a thank-you and some documents I promised her (Standards of Care, etc.) afterwards, and this was part of her response:

"I’m glad you felt good coming out of our meeting yesterday, so did I! I think you are doing a great job communicating what you need, and I really appreciate you being reasonable. So many employees – regardless of what they are asking about – are just not reasonable, and it makes it so much more difficult. I’m excited to be partnering with you as we work through this process."


We agreed that she would spread the word up the food chain, and I told her I'd meet with my project managers and inform them.  Emails from our CEO, company legal counsel, and others quickly followed, expressing their support. I spoke with my project managers today and one of them had already guessed... he told me that he thought to himself when he met me about 4 months ago, "this person is not a male." (!!!) I've been overwhelmed by the level of support and understanding from the people I've communicated with on this after only one day. We are all working on a plan together to pick a date that I will come to work as myself. It will probably be sometime in the next 3 or 4 weeks.

So, I'm out to everyone. There will be an email sent to certain folks at work about me, and I will have a meeting with my project team before I come to work as me, but that's pretty much it as far as the coming-out process goes. I can't wait for the first day that I come to work as myself.... although I took a gander in my closet this weekend and I have two tops and one pair of pants that I could wear to work. (!!!)  I have quite a bit of shopping ahead of me.

I read this over, and it sounded very low-key.  I need some exclamation points in here or something... after all, this is a flipping BIG DEAL!!  So, anywhere above you see (!!!), they were gratuitously added afterwards.

P.S.  Oh, and the project manager I mentioned above... the one who "knew," during our meeting, after I came out, he was referring to me, and said "she."  He paused, and said, "Wow.  That came out totally naturally.  I didn't even think about it."  Who knows, maybe he's been thinking of me as a girl the whole time.

P.S.S.  I think the gratuitous exclamation points work. They're gratuitous, but they fit.  :)

For some reason, I had always wanted pierced ears.

One year ago to the minute of this post, I sat on the table at Exposed Temptations in Manassas a fairly unhappy and somewhat confused individual. I remember thinking as I drove out there, "Am I really doing this?" A thought I'd have many times over the next year. Inexplicably, I hadn't connected this with my lifelong gender issues. At the time, I just knew I wanted my ears pierced. Why, I couldn't tell you... I just wanted 'em pierced. So I got them done. I went to Starbucks afterwards and was surprised that no one gave me a second look... a harbinger of non-reactions to come.

I got home from the piercing shop and returned a phone call from my wife, from whom I had been separated for two years. I told her that I wanted to make things final. It just kind of came out... just happened. In the moment, I didn't realize why I chose this particular time to tell her. Looking back, I now know that there was no way I could have discovered who I really was, while this should-I-stay-or-should-I-go hung over my head. A week later, I finally followed up on an email with a gender therapist after a month of hemming and hawing, and met with her that evening. The first laser appointment followed shortly thereafter.  I didn't realize it in the moment, but piercing my ears was a trigger... my first act of transition.  It unleashed everything that has taken place since then.

I wonder why piercing my ears was my first step. Most people I know who have transitioned didn't pierce ears until they are much further along in the process. I, on the other hand, unwittingly started with piercing my ears. It's an outward, visible thing that you can't hide. You have no choice but to leave them in for a couple months. You can't take them out when it's convenient. Aaaaaaand... it's permanent. It doesn't matter why I did this first, but perhaps there was a reason that the first step I took, was a permanent, visible one.

The changes this year has seen that are the most meaningful and life-altering, are the mental ones. Far and away, I've learned more this year than any other.  One very, very cool thing about transitioning, is that it affords you the opportunity requires you to examine literally everything about yourself.  You spend your entire life wondering why you are compelled to do these strange and sometimes harmful things... why you are so angry all the time and Just. Cannot. Be. Content.  Then one day, all the crap from your past adds up and everything clicks.  And you're able to let go of many of the things that you never understood why you couldn't get past, even though you always wanted badly to get past them. There was a month a while back when it seemed like I had one "aha!" moment after another. It was kind of remarkable, actually. I am closer than ever to truly understanding myself.

Of course, this isn't just about introspection.  An important part of the past year has been the physical metamorphosis.  It's very en vogue for trans people to disavow that fact. As time goes on, it takes on less importance, but still. If you had told me a year ago, that in a year's time, that I would look in the mirror and see a cute woman, I'd have asked you to stop getting my hopes up.  Although seeing beauty in one's self is as much mental as it is physical. Anyway, I'm happy with how I look.

Deep down, I knew I'd end up here from the moment that I stepped into Martha's office, although perhaps not quite this soon.  When I was driving back from that first laser appointment, I remember a tearful car ride home... knowing that something was forever changing.  Clearly, part of me  knew where this was going.  The rest of me caught up quickly. I don't doubt that I need to walk this path. Nevertheless, there are still times when I allow fear to creep in. For example, this disclosure meeting with HR that I have in 5 days. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little apprehensive and/or scared about it. I still have those surreal "WTF am I doing??" moments. I work through them by remembering that things which used to seem impossible have become my reality.

Gender congruency is not a panacea for life's ills.  There are certainly many unhappy cisgender people out there. After transition, I won't be anyone special... just another middle-aged divorced woman with 2 kids.  *That's* a challenge in and of itself, let alone throwing the transgender thing into the mix.  Transitioning is not a guarantee of happiness.  However, indefinitely treading water would have guaranteed the opposite. We'll see.

When I finally accepted myself, I set a goal of full-time in the winter of 2011. And I said that was "optimistic." Heh. It's looking now like I'll be full-time in a month or two... yikes!! It'll be interesting to see what life is like, after another 525,600 minutes have passed.

I scheduled a meeting with HR a week from this coming Monday, to tell them what's going on with me, to begin planning my work transition.  The past month or two, I am getting increasingly withdrawn at work. Each week I get a little more depressed putting on those male clothes and those ugly ugly shoes... I feel like it is as the point where it is affecting things both inside and outside of work.  I talked it over with my therapist and we decided that it's time.  I'm not nervous about disclosing, or afraid, but I am stressed.  Exactly what it is that I am stressed about, I can't tell you.. but it's palpable.  I've felt a little on edge the past couple days.  Friday was awful.  I was depressed all day, left the office, and cried all the way to my ex-wife's house to pick the kids up for the weekend.

The reason I am stressed, is not because of anything going on in my life, or any real evidence that going full-time isn't the right thing for me, or that I think anything bad is going to happen.  I don't.  I think it is going to be justfinethankyou.  I am stressed because I spend too much time reading from others how much of a paradigm shift going full-time is.   How things will get so different, and how you cannot comprehend how different it will be.  I remember reading a blog on PE where a full timer wrote about some issue she was facing.  In it, there was this gem: "YOU CANNOT COMPREHEND THIS SO IF YOU ARE NOT FULL-TIME JUST SHUT UP DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME??"  Sheesh.  

Anyway, I started overdoing it in my thoughts... I had all these visions of writing an overly-dramatic "Tomorrow, I go full-time." post, with a hand over my heart, my eyes gazing towards the heavens, as tears streamed down my face. I've read how TG women lament the death of their old selves, and I let all that get to me.  That's ridiculous.  Not their feelings... but the fact that I let their feelings impact how I feel about myself.  Get a grip, indeed.  Stop reading so much, and live.

So far, everything has come easily.  I don't have any real reason to expect otherwise, just because I am adding going to work as myself.  My electrologist asked me this past week, "do you really think things will be much different?"  and I answered, "no, I don't really feel that way."  I have stressed and agonized about each step in this process... and each step in this process has ended up being much more of a non-event than I thought.  Not the cause for concern that I thought it was.  There is so much emphasis in the TG world put on going "full-time."  You get to change your status on your PE profile.  You're in a new circle.  You can change your name, legally.  The clock starts ticking for GRS.  You are allowed to respond to that all-caps thread I mentioned above ;).  So much fanfare accompanies this blessed event.  Perhaps that shouldn't be the case.  It's just another step in a process, really.  Granted, a big step, but if you are where I am, full-time everywhere else, maybe it isn't *that* huge.

Perhaps I need not be so stressed about it.  After all, this is what I've always wanted.  I need to learn from my past experience and remember that 99% 100% of the things I have worried about so far, weren't worthy of said worrying.  I'm going full-time soon.  I'm very excited and happy about it.  I am going to do my best to let the stress go.  I recall a comment on a blog entry on accepting myself; a comment which stood out in my mind.  From a post-op woman who, IMHO, has and had the right attitude about all this.  The comment was something like, "good for you!  you'll do fine."  It stuck in my mind because of its' simplicity.  I'm a big fan of Occam's Razor, and there was some synergy there, another reason I liked the comment.

So, good for me!  I'll do fine!


P.S.: There is one other reason I am grumpy.  I had laser on my upper lip on Thursday, and usually for 4 days after laser, I can't get a good shave.  So I have noticeable hair on my upper lip that I can't get off.  Hate that!!

Note: I originally posted this on PinkEssence, as a response to a thread where a few women were talking about their collective misery when occasions like weddings, prom, etc. came up.  One of them even left her own sister's wedding her out of self-pity.  That's not my thing.  I hate it.  I hate it because I engaged in it for a while, back in the day.  Anyway, the post was very... umm, let's go with, "popular," generated almost an unprecedented amount of comment, and was reposted on Facebook by the owner of PE.  I think the advice in it applies to a lot wider circle of people than transgender people...

I didn't want to hijack the weddings/prom thread. I doubt this blog is going to be very popular around here, but I really don't care...

Get over yourselves.

Yes, it sucks that we weren't born female. It's not fair that we haven't gotten the experience of being a bride, or going to that high school prom. But, that's not the fault, or problem, of the women who do have those experiences. The answer to our dilemma is not sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves, is not leaving halfway through our own sister's wedding, not feeling sad everytime we are asked to share in someone else's happiness.

And them in the next breath, we lament "why, oh why, can't they accept me and just be happy for me?" It is not reasonable, or fair, on our parts, to expect people who we seemingly can't be happy for, to be happy for us. Often, I've heard people outside the trans community refer to transgender people as selfish, narcissistic, self-centered, etc. I'm sorry, but stuff like this perpetuates that stereotype.

I've been jealous, sometimes angrily jealous, of women, for my entire life. It affected my relationships with my mother, my sister, and my friends. That is not their fault. It is mine, and mine alone. I've learned to let that go and allow myself to be happy for others, and all the aforementioned relationships are better for it. The point where this gets to be a problem IMO, is when it starts affecting those around you. People are bound to see your unhappiness at these sorts of events. Who wants to be around someone like that? There were times when I had that attitude, and people didn't want to be around me, and I don't blame them. When I came out as trans to my mother, she had somewhat of a come-to-Jesus talk with me about these very issues. She was a bit harsh, but she forced me to think, and come to the conclusion that I would get a lot more back from people, if I was truly and sincerely able to give, for no other reason, than to give. It was tremendously helpful.

You'll get a lot more back, if you give. Food for thought.

So yesterday I fretted and hemmed and hawed all day about how I was going to present at back-to-school night.  Had myself so worked up and panicky about it, that I was in tears a couple of times.  In the end, I decided that since there's a good chance I'll be full-time by the end of the school year, I need to present as female... I don't need S's teachers wondering if a woman or a female crossdresser will show up.  (haha!)

So I got home from work and shaved, dressed, put on just a touch of makeup, played around with my hair a bit... and I looked like total crap.  My hair hasn't been cut in a year (we are taking care of that in 8 days), my skin, while hair-free, is bumpy from all the hair that used to be there, and I had these big old dark circles under my eyes, presumably from not sleeping much the night before, worrying about this.  And I was sweating bullets, since it was in the high 90s today, and I have the air conditioner off during the day.  Quite the hot mess, was I.  Decided to make a couple stops before school, to see if I got read.  A warm-up, if you will.  Stopped at Starbucks... kind of a side story here.  I stop at this Starbucks fairly regularly.  The woman working there saw me and smiled and asked me how I had been, since it had been a while since I was in there last.  The funny thing is, that I've never presented as female there before.  She recognized me and didn't show the slightest hint of surprise or "omg!" or anything.  I thought that was interesting.  But I digress.

Pulled into the parking lot at the school, and felt very nervous.... this is where things start getting real.  I've spent hundreds of nights alone at home, shamefully dressing, and now, I am about to walk into a public school, sporting a purse, boobs, etc.  Crazy, when I think about it in those terms.  I walked into an auditorium full of parents... I held my hand out and it was shaking badly.  I found a spot with open seats on either side and sat down, wondering when I was going to get that look of shocked, wide-eyed recognition from some parent, wondering what this freak was doing at her child's school, because, you know, we are all just a bunch of perverts.  A woman sat down next to me.  And got right back up.  Crap.  Oh, wait.  She is squinting and we are quite a few rows back.  Ok, ok, chill out... calm down.  Another woman came and sat next to me, and smiled at me.  Ok, maybe you are passing.  I started feeling more comfortable and allowed myself a small  smile.

The principal gave her spiel, and dismissed us (yes, she actually said "Parents, you are dismissed") to the classrooms.  I went over and introduced myself... we had spoken on the phone a week prior, to make her and S's teachers aware of our alternate situation.  She was friendly.  I got to S's classroom and we all had to sit around little tables.  I sat at a table with three other Moms... they just gave me a typical smile that women give to each other.  Felt much, much better.  I introduced myself to S's teachers, got her little packet, teachers were totally normal and friendly.  If they realized I was the TG parent, they didn't let on.  Mrs. Z gave her talk, and that was it.  I didn't get looks from anyone.  Not even from this couple who is good friends with my ex-wife.  The wife looked right at me and did not recognize me.

You would think... that by this point, I would stop panicking about these situations.  Literally 100% of the time so far, when I've panicked about something like this, it was unwarranted.  This was a bit different, though.  I've been in this protective bubble of friends, family, and strangers that I don't need to be concerned about seeing again.  Presenting at school as me is different, for obvious reasons.  It's a big step.  This school year, while I am part-time, I am going to keep a low profile at school.  Once I am full-time, though, that will change.  I am going to be an involved parent.  Of course, there is worry-wart potential, when other parents actually realize that one of the kindergarten parents is transgender.  I am going to try not to worry too much about that.  I cannot control how people react, or what preconceptions or prejudices they have.  What I can do, is live an upstanding life and be a great parent.  That's the sort of thing that helps erase such prejudices.  I intend to do my best to erase them, and show people that don't understand us, that we are not much different.

My daughter starts kindergarten on Tuesday, and tonight is Back to School night.  It's a parents-only thing, an hour long.  I am having some angst about how I am going to present.  I spoke with the school principal last week to let her know about our alternative family situation, and S's teacher and the school counselor are aware.  The principal was nothing but friendly and supportive, and even implied that I was not the first transgendered parent they've had.  She asked me if I was going to be at the back-to-school night and when I said yes, she said to make sure I introduced myself.  I suspect that the main reason I'm unsure, is that so far, the kids and I have been inside this little bubble.  I take them grocery shopping as myself, to the park as myself, but there's no meaningful interaction with anyone else, other parents, my kids' friends, etc... no one else who is in my kids' lives.  Presenting as me at the kids' school, crosses a new, scary line.  All the other lines I've crossed just had the potential to impact me.  This one has the potential to impact them.

What if some Mom starts chatting me up tonight?  My ex-wife won't be there and people will think I'm a Mom.  I'll just say something like, "My daughter S. is starting kindergarten."  On one hand, I'd love to talk with the other Moms.  On the other, I just feel like I ought to go, listen to the information, and get the heck out of Dodge.  What if they read me, and freak out?  My ex, a couple weeks ago, on the phone, asked me, "Well, what will you do if people refuse to allow S and/or G to play with their kids?"  I doubt that would happen, but it's possible, I guess.  The other thing I am afraid about, if I am being honest, is my ex-wife's reaction, when I tell her that I went as myself.  When we were together, and for the first couple years of our separation, I was basically afraid of her.  I'm more or less over that, but there is obviously some residual fear hanging around.  Need to let that go.

I'm pretty sure I will end up going as myself.  And "myself" includes being smiley and friendly and outgoing.  Most, well, all, of the stuff I've worried about thus far, has not come to fruition.  Maybe this will be just a big giant non-event, and this evening I'll come back to this post, re-read it, and wonder why I was so paranoid.


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When I transitioned, there just weren't too many blogs out there written by straight, transitioned women. Well, here's one.

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