So, let's see... my first week at work. This really won't be all that interesting. It was a decidedly unspectacular week. Which is a good thing!

The first morning, I went out to breakfast with a group of local triathlon friends; it was nice to see everyone, and it was a great way to start off the "first day of work." I went to work, and it was really just another day. We mostly sit in our cubes and write software all day, with the occasional meeting. Monday, I sat in my cube and wrote software all day, and we had a meeting. I didn't perceive that anyone treated me any differently than any other day, save for one of the guys on the team holding the door for me after we had our team meeting. The one thing that *was* palpable to me, was the lack of interaction with other people. It bugged me. I never minded that before. What will be interesting to see, is if it bugged me because it was my first day, and I was seeking interaction to validate things, or, if I my mindset has changed. I seriously believe it is the second. I want to be more social than I've been.

The rest of the week was similar. On Wednesday, we had a meeting with the other three developers, and things felt the same.  I was still the funny one on the team, they still laughed quite a bit at my nonsense, and I contributed to the meeting just as always.  By the end of that day, things felt completely normal to me. Unfortunately, "normal" in the context of my project means we pretty much talk only when necessary... it's a bunch of techie guys.  All good, kind people, just not very chatty.  I wish there was another woman on my team. Speaking of other women, with respect to the other women in the office, before last week, I would pass one in the hall, or the kitchen, and they wouldn't say hello, smile, etc. Which makes sense... one doesn't walk around smiling and greeting every guy (that you don't know) that she sees. This week, it was different. Smiles and hellos galore from the other women on the floor. Got a couple compliments on my hair.  I can't imagine that they're not aware that I am the transgender person on the floor, but I don't really care.  I think I'd rather that people just knew.  At any rate, hopefully I can make friends with some of the other women and have someone to go to lunch with.

After my first day at work, I went to Trader Joe's, came home, made cookies for the kids, and went to bed. It was nice to be able to go straight to the store without having to go home and change clothes first. It was nice not to have to leave my purse in the car when I got to work. It was very nice to take off that $%(*?&@! bra when I got home, and exponentially nicer not to have to use the men's room anymore.  It's nice to be myself all the time.

In my last blog entry, I wrote something like "I don't think it is going to be anything spectacular..." and it wasn't. Of course, and I hadn't thought of this when I used the word "spectacular", was that a few months back, I wrote an entry titled "mundane = spectacular."

Hmmm... I guess it was a pretty spectacular week after all!!!

There was this guy who had a lot going for him.  Handsome, funny, intelligent... never had much of a problem dating anyone he wanted.  Concertmaster of the orchestra in high school, lots of friends, starting point guard on the basketball team, got mostly A's with a few B's. Got the highest GRE scores in the history of his college, then a Masters' degree.  Performed very well at work... both there and at school, was always considered one of the "stars."  He earned well into the 6 figures as a technology consultant.  Married an intelligent, beautiful woman, bought a house in the burbs, had two children.  He got into triathlon and made a large group of friends there.  Clearly, here was someone who had it all.

Although... his humor could get a little sarcastic and biting at times. Too biting.  Come to think of it, he performed well enough at work when it came to sitting in front of a computer, but he could never quite get that whole "people" thing down.  And furthermore, it's true that he did have friends, but whenever he moved on in life, be it from a school, or a job, or a situation, that was the end of those friendships.  He just let them go.  Friends and family noted a simmering anger about him; they'd sometimes remark that he was hard to get to know, a bit of an enigma. Maybe there was more here than meets the eye.

Keep peeling back layers, and things got worse.  Once or twice a week, he'd leave work, stop at the local convenience store, get a 12-pack, polish off 10 of them by 9 PM, and pass out.  He'd wake up in the middle of the night and aimlessly drive around wearing some article of clothing that he dared not be seen in come daylight.  Fall back asleep for maybe an hour, and come into work bleary-eyed and exhausted. He ran up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt, buying and throwing away clothes, repeating the cycle, each time swearing never to do it again. He has a 2-inch scar on his hip from cutting himself, and multiple scars on his stomach and worse places from burning himself with cigarettes, almost 20 years ago. He used to catch himself in a good mood, and think, "Why are you in a good mood? You have nothing to be in a good mood about. Stop it." He realized that he had little self-worth, but never understood why. Clearly, here was someone who had very little.

If you had told him that someday he'd be describing this in a forum that his real-life friends and many others read, he'd have told you that you were crazy.  He would have been right.  He would never have written this.

*I* am, though.

Why?  Why on earth would I make public these intensely private things, which I went to great lengths to hide for years?  It's a virtual certainty that there is someone out there reading this, going through similar angst as I did.  This is for you. I know, it seems pretty hopeless at times.  Looking in the mirror and finding it impossible to see anything remotely feminine or masculine about one's self. Hiding a secret that is far too embarrassing to confide to anyone. Get some help.  There are more resources available to help you than ever. More and more of us are emerging out of shameful closets and into society's consciousness. You can do this.  Just one short year ago, living the rest of my life as my true self was an unreachable pipe dream.  The unreachable pipe dream is now my reality. It can be yours as well.

I'm going to work tomorrow, for the first time.  I don't think it is going to be anything spectacular.  It's merely the first day of many to follow, where I live my life as the person I've always wanted to be... myself, nothing more.  Life will be much better as myself. That said, I am not one of those transitioners who hates the person she used to be, ceremoniously burning old photos, yearbooks, clothes and such.  I've learned a lot from that guy.  He had many good qualities.  I've read about the experiences of others who have gone before me, expressing sentiments such as the old them is dying, etc. I do feel a little solemn, but I don't feel like any part of me is dying, or dead. The experiences of the past 39 years have forged the person I am today, and I've learned a ton from them. I'll carry forward the good stuff and never forget the bad.

Often I read that the first year of transition is the most stressful.  I dunno.  I'm adding in going to work. Life will be as stressful as I allow it to be.  I'm sure at times it will be a bit of a whirlwind. There will be days when I am exhausted, and there will be low points where I will feel like giving up (on transition, not life).  In those moments, I will remember that guy.  I will remember the dysphoria, and life will go on.  I will turn 40, then 50, then 60, and then be a "little old lady."  What will *that* be like?  Will I be happy?  Will I be alone?  Maybe, but it's pointless to wring my hands about such things now.  One step at a time. I'm taking a big one tomorrow morning.

Bye, Tim. <3

Last year, when my daughter was in preschool, I came in a couple times and read a book to the class. I loved reading to them and S. really enjoyed having me there. What kid doesn't, right? My son has started this year at the same preschool. Last week, an email went out to all the parents in G's class asking for volunteers to come in and read. I thought about it a lot, talked with my sister, who is a 1st-grade teacher and has a 5 and 2-year old, my therapist, and decided to volunteer. Got an email back from her teacher... "THANKS!!"

Great, huh? Well, think again. Today I got a phone call from Sharlene, the principal or head administrator of the school. It's a private school, in an upper-class, conservative area. I could tell the tone of the voice mail. She said something to the effect of, "I just wanted to talk or meet with you to see how we could come to a mutual understanding of..." or some bullshit like that. I didn't really pay attention to the rest of her message. I knew damn well what the reason for the phone call was.

So I called her back. My suspicions were confirmed when pretty much the first question she asked me was, "well, why do you want to come in and read a book to the class?" Um, because my son is in the class. That's how it works. I asked her if she called all the other parents, asking for their motivations for reading to their children. We trans people... we're awful, you know. If a trans person wants to read a book to her child's class, it simply *must* be for some other reason than simply wanting to be an involved parent.

In an incredibly circuitous, passive-aggressive, and disingenuous way, she insinuated that I shouldn't come read to the class because it would confuse the children. And the children would have questions. And the parents wouldn't want to answer them. And she'd get phone calls and/or emails from the parents. And she didn't want to deal with it. That was the essence of what it took this woman 20 minutes to say. At one point, I just asked her to say whatever it was she was trying to say. I mean, seriously. Out with it. But she wouldn't. She wanted me to voluntarily say, "oh, ok, I won't come in." Fuck that. There was no way I was going to say that. I basically told her that I saw this as a learning opportunity for the kids. People are all afraid or us, or threatened, or whatever, because they don't understand. Yes, the kids are young, and cannot understand gender identity, but 3-year olds don't need to. I think it would have been OK. I think the kids would have had the same "meh" reaction that my kids have had, or my at-the-time 4-year old nephew had when my sister showed him a picture of me... he said, "Wow!" and then asked for some cookies.

Anyway, I repeatedly expressed that in a respectful manner to her, and she eventually said, "It would affect G's enrollment here." I thought it best for me to not say anything stupid or in the heat of the moment, so I told her that I didn't have anything else to say and that I was ending the call. This woman is afraid of getting phone calls from parents. She's afraid. She didn't even have the guts on the call to just come out and say what she wanted. Even at the end, all she said was, "This would effect his enrollment." She never said what would effect it, she didn't have the courage to. Pathetic and spineless. Or, she's just an ignorant, closed-minded person. Or both. I have zero respect for her. On the call, I asked her what research she had done to prepare herself for the call, knowing full well she'd done nothing of the sort. You can imagine that she didn't have much of an answer.

That said, this is not a battle that I could win, and even if it were, the potential harm it would cause my son far outweighs the good I could do by coming in and reading a book to his class. Moving him to another school also would not be a good thing for him. This is about my son, not my rights as a parent. So, I will live to fight another day. This is the first post tagged with "discrimination." It likely won't be the last, sadly. I'd love to name the school here and SEO this page so that when people Googled this school, this post would come up. But, I won't. That wouldn't help G., either. I'm angry, very angry about this... but I need to take it lying down this time, unfortunately. I'm not going to use my son to prove a political point with school administration. It's frustrating, because I am not the type to tolerate this sort of bigoted crap.

I am my child's parent. Part of that, especially when you are transgender, is absorbing stuff like this, for their sake.

On BT, each member has her or his own training log, visible to other members. Mostly, people record and discuss their training in their logs, and some people (like me) talk about life stuff. You can leave a member what is called an "inspire," a little message to them, a comment on their training, etc. We also have a "friends list," people on the site who mean something to you, in one way or another. Around a year and a half ago, there was a rather beloved member of the site, Bunnyrunner, who was in the last stages of battling with cancer, a fight that had gone on for years. Her husband Klondike was helping with log updates to let our community know how she was doing, and reading her inspires to her. I hadn't interacted with her or him too much prior, but had kept a watchful eye on her log.

One day, when the end was imminent, I came to her log to leave an inspire. I felt small... what could I possibly say that might give them some comfort? I couldn't comprehend what they were going through; any words of mine seemed woefully inadequate and insignificant. Bunnyrunner and Klondike had recently married... I remembered being inspired by their optimism and hope, marrying when they likely had so little time together. I left a succinct inspire expressing my admiration for their love. A couple days later, after she had lost her battle, I came back to her log. I saw that I had been added to her friends list. I smiled through a tear. Not because I was on someone else's friends list; rather, because perhaps my words had given them some small measure of comfort, at a time when it was needed most.

I've been in a not-so-great mental place the last few days. I'll essentially be full-time after work today and while it's not sad, I feel incredibly emotional. My kids will be seeing me in male clothes for the last time this morning, when I drop them at school. This afternoon, I'll have a meeting with my project team to tell them that I am transgender, and that I'll be taking Thursday and Friday off, and coming to work as myself on Monday. I'm not nervous or scared about work. It's more the enormity of the rest of my life laid out before me. It's the impact that this change has on my children, and all my relationships. It's the somewhat audacious idea that I'm going to live the rest of my life as a female. The rest of my life. It's been a lot to take in. My last couple log entries have been somewhat "down." But then....

... yesterday, a friend reminded me of Terri. Terri fought valiantly. She faced her struggles with optimism and a smile. She signed up for races and lived her life on her terms as best she could. I thought of her, and went back over her log. I read lots of it... and was reminded that just as she did, I need to live *my* life on *my* terms, and fight. So now, at a time when *I* need it most, once again she makes me smile through a tear. A tear which evaporates, and a smile which transforms to a look of firm resolve. She reminds me to face my future with optimism... to fight!!, in those moments when it would be all too easy to cower in fear of the challenges of the future and lament the losses of the past.

The hell with that. I have a life to live. So watch out, rest of my life. Grrrrrrrr!!! Here I come. Deal with it.

Thank you, Terri. You continue to inspire and you always will.

Everything *seems* to be going well, at least on a superficial level... but is it, really?

My family... I dunno. My mom is making an effort, she's trying to use my name and all, but we don't talk too often. Maybe once a week. My dad... I don't really hear much from him. But, that's nothing new. Hasn't changed much from what things were like before my announcement. My sister... she's regressed, I think. We don't talk as often as we used to.  She's busy, and sometimes just doesn't want to hear about it, or deal with it, or something like that. It's hard because they live far away, and don't see me very often. So my changes are not gradual to them. There will be a point in the future where it's not OK for them to say things like "I don't want to deal with this," anymore. I'm not there yet, but I feel closer than ever to this point. This is who I am, and this is the biggest and best thing that has ever happened to me. And if one doesn't want to deal with it, she doesn't want to deal with me. I'm not going to have superficial phone calls with people with all this stuff in the background. What if someone had some other medical condition, like, say they were recovering from cancer? Can you imagine telling someone you didn't want to hear about it? "Ugh, you know, I really don't want to hear about this stupid cancer recovery you keep talking about. I'm done with it." This shouldn't be any different.

Friends... they're supportive in the sense of commenting on my Facebook statuses or clicking "Like" and meeting up for a drink (when I invite), but no one has proactively asked me to do anything or get together, in literally months. It's always me asking. I've gone out with people very often. Which is nice, but it would also be nice if someone asked me to do something once in a while. I'd talked about getting together with a couple people and they said, "send me some dates!!" so I sent a list of dates. Annnnnd, I've not heard back. I had planned this thing at my place, invited a bunch of people, and ended up canceling it after 3 no's, 4 maybe's, 1 yes, and 18 no responses. It was just stressing me out. I don't need that.  I've been invited to come visit people (long-distance) for the weekend, which is awesome. I have a couple trips planned. I've invited people to my place for a weekend, and I get a series of we'll sees or we're very busies, etc. I'm so tired of being the one to reach out. So, I'm not going to anymore, for a while.  It's exhausting, especially with everything else going on.

There's a pattern here. I don't know if the pattern is more about me as a person, or people are just busy, or lazy, or noncommittal, or what. But for the rest of my life, when these sorts of things go on, I'll always wonder if it's because I am trans. Kinda sucks.

And this trans support site I am on... it gets tiresome. The titles of the last few posts...

  • Speedbump
  • Grey Inside My Soul
  • Things I Don't Like About Myself
  • A thought that bothers me
  • Be careful what you wish for
  • Another disappointing day
  • Pieces Left Behind
  • A sad day
All negative.  The drum of constant negativity gets to me at times.  There was even a post by one of the site admins titled "No Spiking The Ball!"  meaning, if good things happen to you in your transition, it might be insensitive to write about them, as it's not going like that for everyone.  Whatever.  Only on a transgender site would there be a post by an admin, warning people against being too positive.

I'm tired of reaching out.  I'm tired of reaching out to people and having it not reciprocated.  I'm tired of the constant negativity of the transgender world.  I came out to a few thousand people on my other site this week, and while the response was great, the act of coming out like that, is tiring.  I'm tired of being the standard-bearer for transgender people in my little circle, if it is even a circle. I'm tired of these constant mental ups and downs, case in point, this post, juxtaposed with my last one, about "fun." I try my best to stay positive.  But at times, this all gets to me, and I just want to hide for a while.  Like, now.  So, no worries, site admin.  I won't spike the ball for a while.

It's a busy time right now. I'm tired of writing deep, meaningful posts. My brain is maxed out at the moment, so this one might be a bit "newsy." I don't really like newsy posts. I can never think of a good title. Whatever.

I went to visit a dear friend last weekend... flew out to Chicago, first time as myself. Last year, I visited this same friend, before any of this. I knew her through my triathlon site, and flew out for a swim race. Last year when I was out there, she, I, and her future husband boyfriend were talking about how it was kind of funny that she invited some random Internet guy out to her place for the weekend. She said that she'd had a bunch of girls to visit, but never a guy. Haha. Little did we know. After I came out to her, we realized that even back then, we were becoming girlfriends. She's someone you just can't help but love. I'm very fortunate to have her as a friend.

Anyway... my driver's license picture is old. Like, three years old. Looks nothing like me. So armed with my carry letter (a letter written by a professional, explaining what is going on), I headed to the airport. Just a little bit of a hassle at Dulles... the TSA people were professional, but I had to talk with 3 people (!!) before they let me through. The second guy I talked to said that he'd never had this situation before. Oh well. Hopefully it will be easier for the next trans person that he sees. They did keep using "he" and "him," which was a little irritating. They weren't being intentionally obtuse, I don't think... this is just new to them. I will probably write the TSA a letter saying that while the agents were professional, perhaps a little education is in order.

The weekend itself, was a lot lot lot of fun. I need CLOTHES. Lots of them. So we shopped. Lots of shopping. Between Express, Ann Taylor, NY & Company, DSW, Gap, and Old Navy, I purchased around 20 tops and one pair of boots. I also ended up with a few more hand-me-down tops, and a dress. And flip-flops. And a scarf that I will use as a belt with jeans. I have no idea how I got this all in my single carry-on, which was fairly full to begin with. We shopped, we chatted (a lot!), we drank wine, we went out to dinner with her future husband boyfriend. I had no problems getting back through security at O'Hare, and made it home. Fun girls' weekend. The kind of weekend that cisgender women have likely had hundreds of. This was my first.

Now I have a few tops. I only have two pairs of pants, though. I still need skirts, pants, jeans, maybe a dress or two, and more shooz. And belts. Scarves. Unmentionables. Socks. Cheap jewelry. On and on and on. It will be fun to go shopping for it all, but it's a little overwhelming. My goal is to have enough for two weeks. Oh, and outerwear. I have no outerwear.

Hmmm, what else. I came out on my triathlon site. I've been on the site for over 4 years, am a moderator, and pretty well-known, so it was kind of a big deal. Really good response there, so far the post has close to 2300 views, and 65 or so comments, 100% supportive. Now, I'm not so naive as to think all the people who read my thread are supportive, but it went really well. I got a few kind private messages from people I've never before interacted with on the site, but knew me from my OCD copious postings over the years, and that was very cool. I also think that there must be other trans people on this site. And perhaps seeing how people responded to me, will help them.

As far as the actual work stuff goes, it's all good. My first day is October 25. I'm helping our HR department write gender transition guidelines, you know, because I have so much experience. Ha! Seriously, it is *very* cool that my transition has spurred this. The Monday morning that I go to work, am taking some friends out for breakfast. That'll be fun. A couple weeks after that, I invited a bunch of people over for dessert and drinks. That will also be fun. If anyone decides to RSVP. What is so difficult about RSVPing to something? You compare the dates on your calendar that you have stuff going on, with the dates on the invitation. If they overlap, you RSVP "no." If not, and you'd like to go, you RSVP "yes." If you don't want to go, you RSVP "no." It's not rocket science, people. People don't like to commit to things. That doesn't go over well with someone who has committed to changing her physical gender.

Hmm, the word "fun" or variants of it appear 8 times in this blog. Ok, that will be the title for this post. Usually I cannot deal with repetitiveness in my writing, which this particular blog entry is likely rife with. Like, "RSVP" above. It appears five times in one paragraph. And it jumps out at me because it is in CAPS. That's weak. I should change it. But I'm not going to. I'm too tired, and too happy. It's fine. :)

P.S. With this post, the labels "friends" and "happy" are now tied with "hair removal" for my most-used labels. I like this. :)

10 or so years ago, I was reading about this topic which intrigued me, about people who emerged from the womb as male, but underwent all sorts of painful/stressful/life-altering procedures to, as I put it at the time, "become" women.

"That's not me, I'm not like that..." I remember thinking. "I could never go through all that. I'm OK the way I am." Now, I've been on hormones for 6 months and I have a couple hours of electrolysis a week.

I met a group of transgender women for the first time, about a year ago. I remember being surprised that they (mostly people who had transitioned) didn't wear all that much makeup, and wore clothes that weren't all that feminine.

"Oh, that's not me. I'm not like that," I thought, as I sat there in my overly-feminine getup and foundation, blush, eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow, and lipstick. I mean, what's the point of doing all this, if you can't girl it up, right? Now, here is my current Facebook profile picture.

Three or four months into therapy, my therapist asked me if I ran upstairs and changed out of my male clothes after getting home from work each day.

"No, that's not me, I'm not like that," I replied. "Male clothes don't bother me. I can wear whatever. It doesn't matter." Now, the second I leave work, I feel a weight lifted. I cannot wait to get home and change. And the shoes. Don't even get me stared on the heavy, ugly, clunky shoes I have to wear.

I've met many full-timers who haven't done much with their voice. Their voice sounds male. They look great, but their voice is a dead giveaway. How could they go through life sounding as they do? Don't they care about getting read as transgender?

"Hmmph. That's not me, I'm not like *that*," I scoffed. Now, I'm going full-time in three weeks and my voice isn't anywhere close to sounding feminine. When I speak to people, I have no idea if they realize I'm trans, or not, and I don't really care.

So many times I've read that in the days and weeks preceding going full-time, many transgender women feel a real sense of loss, mourning their old selves. They seemed incredibly stressed, referring to their old selves "dying," stuff like that.

"Well, that's certainly not me. I'm not like that," I thought. "I mean, going full-time is a *good* thing! And the old you isn't dying. That person is still around, it's just a little different. And besides, all you're doing is adding in work. No biggie."

Now, for the past week, I've been waking up around 3:30 in the morning, each morning, and I can't get back to sleep. This morning, I started thinking about what it's going to be like three weeks from now... my first day as myself at work, and I felt a palpable sense of loss. I sometimes wish I wasn't like this. I wish that I had been born with the sense of congruency for which I am striving. I feel overwhelmed and stressed about all that I have to get done over the next three weeks. Which includes quit smoking. Yeah, I smoke. Don't tell my endocrinologist... I don't want to hear it. For years, I've been around a pack a day. In the past 6 months, I am up to 2. 2 packs a day. I have no idea how or why this happened. It really concerns me; no, it rings alarm bells in my head, is what it does. I have to somehow manage to quit smoking, at what is perhaps the most stressful time of my life. Good luck with that.

Anyway, I'm sure that I seem like someone who really has her shit together. I'm confident, self-assured, I've accepted myself, so far I've kept my family and friends, life is good, blah blah blah. That's all true, but it doesn't mean that I don't have my moments where I feel very uncertain about what's going to become of me. I don't have a choice but to do this; there is no wavering on my part. The reality, however, is that I don't know what it will be like. I don't know that it'll be all that different. Which I don't think of as a good thing.

I read stories about some post-transition women, who are struggling mightily... they're congruent, but lonely. They've not been able to find a relationship, and/or once they've finished the "transitioning" part of this and over the initial euphoria of finding one's self, that life as a transgender woman is pretty damn difficult. They went into transition with unrealistic expectations and were completely knocked on their asses when it was less than what they expected.

That's not me... I'm not like that.

Really, I'm not. You'll see.



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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.

I can be reached via email at this address.

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