Nov 25, 2008
Nov 21, 2008
The end of week 2 is coming to a close and it certainly went easier than week 1. I'm sitting here counting hours until I'm off for a 1-week vacation or staycation as my friend Todd so puts it. Guy #1 has ceased his bitching and moaning so I can only assume that he has been talked too. He has even come into the shop ½ a dozen times this week, which was something he refused to do previously. I can honestly say otherwise things just seem normal which really makes me happy!
I had my weekly electrolysis session last night and I have to say that Rita is awesome! I'm sure it helps having a past familiarity with her and mainly her sister so we always have things to talk about. Funny enough, she is the type of person that I could be friends with. She is upbeat, positive, compassionate and interesting. As far as the actual work she has done I'm seeing a lot of results faster than I expected which is awesome. I am looking forward to the day that I can be done with this and just get out of bed not worrying about hair anymore. Thanks god what is left is gray and hard to see.
Having next week off should be a blessing, it will be a week to decompress and when we get back it will be December (The holiday season!) Normally in days past the Latter part of Nov and all of Dec were rough months for me over the years. It was a great source of depression and misery for me. I'm thankful to be able to say that I'm looking forward to the holidays and my birthday this year. I guess having a huge burden lifted from your shoulders can work wonders.
I'm not sure if I'll be blogging or what I'll be doing with my week off yet. I do know that on Tuesday I have a hair appointment and then obviously turkey day on Thursday. Tonight Diane and I are meeting Cynthia for dinner so it should be a nice way to kick off the holiday week. We always have interesting conversations and she is a good source of inspiration having already walked the steps that I am currently walking. It's always nice having someone to share stories or bounce things off of.
I guess for now that is all the news I have. If I don't talk to anyone for the next week may you all have an awesome thanksgiving.
Nov 18, 2008
Well yesterday was the first test of whether guy#1 was going to be professional or a freaking dweeb,. Turns out he took the dweeb route. Yeah I know, I should have known better but hey I had high hopes. I always hope that the good in people will outweigh the bad.
Yesterday as we were working away I heard the door to the shop open, a few moments of silence and then a bang of the door closing. Sure enough he snuck in, tossed work on the table and then snuck back out. Now this is all well and good, but the first thing that's wrong with this picture is that we have a rule in here. If you need a job done you are required to talk to us to see if we have either the time or capacity to do it.
This rings true for every job that comes in here but even more true for jobs from other departments. Our company is set up in such a way that even though we are one company, we work as separate divisions even under the same roof at times. We do not work for his division so technically we don't HAVE to take his work. Basically it comes down to us doing a favor for him and his needs. Pretty sad that he needs a favor but cannot be respectful to come in here for it. He's an arrogant Fu … well you get the idea.
Yesterday when my shift was up I left the back door of the building and guy#1 was outside taking one of his many "I need a butt" breaks. Dee said she noticed that the minute he spied me walking out he turned in the other direction. I've been told he refuses to even acknowledge me and I guess he assumes by turning his back to me he's letting me know that what I'm doing is unacceptable and I'm being punished.
This am when I came in my coworker Rich informed me that the minute I left he came in to discuss the job. So now it comes down to him being unprofessional and impeding workflow because he has a personal issue with me. Funny enough Rich wants me to do the job and ask plenty of questions so he HAS to deal with me! I'm not out to look for trouble so I wont go out of my way but if I do the job, he most certainly will have to address me.
I have to admit this turn affected my mood this am. I know I shouldn't let it bother me but it happens.
Funny enough lately I had been repeating an old phrase that an ex coworker and friend from the shop used to recite when people would make comments. "I'm not here to make friends, I'm here to make money". On a basic level this premise couldn't be more true because guy#1 doesn't pay my mortgage, support my family or hang with me. But this morning something would tip the scales and lift my mood.
Being in a closed in room here and having our email notification sound like a ding going off can be a bit of a pain. "DING!" Rich and I look at each other with that old "mine or yours look"! So quite a while ago I traded the ding for a "You've got mail, yay!" wav which was exactly brought me to the email I got.
My old coworker and friend had gotten word of my transition and took time to let me know he supports me and that it wont make him see me any differently, we were still friends. I sat for a minute and just tried to absorb what I had just read. I guess what got me what that this was someone who hadn't seen me in a while, he could have kept the info and just not done anything but yet, he went out of his way to send some encouraging words.
Now I know if you take a negative and offset it with a positive you can pretty much call the day a wash and move on. But in this case I really felt like that email had more impact on me than any negative guy#1 is putting out. It not only changed the direction of my day it really elevated my mood. It reminds me that not all people are bad people and there are a good cross section of people who are good people, caring people, people worth the respect and the time you have to give.
**UPDATE** As I was writing this guy #1 actually came in the shop while I was here! Wonder if HR layed it out for him!
The bottom line is that it doesn't take much to make someone feel valued. That letter made me feel exactly that. So Kev, if you are reading this … Thanks
Nov 17, 2008
Lately the big news seems to be not only that Prop 8 passed but that there are rallies all over the country calling for a repeal to the law. People are justifiably upset over the passage of a law that grants a class of people privilege. Over the course of the last few months on occasion I make it known what my political views are and like most of the rational people I believed that Prop 8 should be defeated.
My interpretation of how the constitution protects us tell is that a minorities civil right cannot and should not be allowed to be suppressed by a majority. Furthermore with freedom of religion as a fundamental right that we all share and one religion should not be allowed to weigh its moral beliefs on any group of people, especially not followers of that particular faith.
Yesterday morning while during my usual Sunday morning coupon cutting frenzy, George Stephanopoulos came on with an interview of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger discussing the changes in the Democratic sway in politics and what this meant to Republicans. I have to admit I became rather intrigued with the Governor as he outlined some of his points of view on Taxes and such. When it came to the issue of Prop 8 I was again very impressed.
By nature I am what you might consider a liberal thinking republican, something you do not find very often. With every answer that the governor put forth I realized that there are some conservative people who are very forward thinking still around. The nice thing was that the governor had the almost identical view on Prop 8 and what should happen. In fact his point of view embraces the very idea that civil rights should not be put to vote in such a manner.
I think that the Supreme Court was right by saying that it's unconstitutional. And that everyone should have the right, just like we had the battle in 1948 and the Supreme Court decision came down, that, you know, it was unconstitutional for blacks and whites not to be able to get married with each other, and they overturned that. And since then, that has been taken care of.
And now the Supreme Court says that it's also unconstitutional to not let gay people get married, the same-sex marriage. So to me, that is the important decision here, and everything else is not that important. So people can pass initiatives, like Proposition 187 passed under Wilson that said we should not give, you know, Latinos and those that are illegally here any educational services or any kind of medical services. The Supreme Court said, well, the people maybe had some intentions there, but it's unconstitutional.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you think the courts should overturn Proposition 8?
SCHWARZENEGGER: The court has overturned it. And now they went back. And the people have voted for it again, against the gay marriage. So the Supreme Court, you know, I think ought to go and look at that again. And we'll go back to the same decision, basically.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you believe they will.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I think that they will. And I think that the important thing now is to resolve this issue in that way.
Nov 14, 2008
Well I'm in the last ½ hour of m shift for this week so that means I actually made it. It was a very emotional week for me and I'm looking forward to a few days of R&R. I have 1 more week of work and then we are shut down for the week of the holiday so I'll have a little more then.
I likened the end of this week to my friend Cynthia to the movie "It's a wonderful life".
In the movie there is a part where Jimmy Stewarts character is trying to calm a run on the building and loan. He takes to using his own money to keep the place open and with about a minute to spare he is left holding $2 in his hand. I remember him saying something to the effect of if they make it to closing that they stay in business.
Today was my building and loan run. I felt as though if I could make it to the end of my shift today that the worst part of my tenure here was over. Ok not so much worst as much nerve-wracking but you get the picture. All in all I think it has been a successful week. It's good to know I'm getting support. I got this email from one of the engineers this am that was really cool.
I got your message on Monday and meant to swing by this week to offer you support and encouragement
Didn't happen so I'm writing you briefly now.
I wish you the best of success in your complicated transition over the next couple of years. Hope to catch up with you soon to see how you are doing.
Can't get any better than that. That seems to be the consensus of the people that know me and I've yet to hear about anyone else who is negative… Good times!
Weekend is here!
Nov 13, 2008
Things seem to be falling into a quiet routine around here. One of the nice things for me is that my shift hours have me as one of the first people in the building. That helps keep me from feeling like I'm walking into a lion's den by being stared at. So far the people who I have daily interactions with, nothing has changed in how they treat me. I obviously don't know what they say when I'm not around but that doesn't really matter to me.
What has helped to some degree is that for me the changes are minor as I've previously stated. It isn't like I'm suddenly wearing skirts to work and trying to sit with the women. It isn't much of a stretch to go from Boy jeans and Tees to girls other than the jeans now fit me a hell of a lot better. In the job that I'm in I wear shop shirts anyway. For a lot of these people the shocker tends to be in the name change and pronoun area and they will definitely find it hard to see changes because for the most part they are already there
In another twist that I hadn't mentioned in my blog yesterday about guy #1 and HR was that the person that "sold" me out was the person that had my back and went to HR. I'm a bit blown away by it and I appreciate the fact that he cares enough to do that.
So far my experience has been that most people either just want you to be happy or they just don't feel the need to acknowledge it either way. That is to say that they may not agree with it but they just keep it to themselves. Another thing I've found is that you find acceptance in the places that you would have never expected or even looked for it. I've had some of the most macho of guys' wish me well. One even served in the originally ground assault of Desert Storm.
A friend a long time ago when I worked in the main machine shop used to keep the saying. "I'm not here to make friends, I'm here to make money" While we all want to be liked, we really need to remember that this is the point of our employment, especially in issues such as this. If someone here doesn't like me because I'm being true to myself then it needs to be remembered that they don't pay my bills. We aren't spending thanksgiving together and we certainly aren't going out for drinks after work. Those things are reserved for my friends and family, not people who have zero effect on my life.
The bottom line here is simply. I know other people who would love to transition and feel whole but are afraid to do so for fear of being ostracized. While it is a scary thing to do and not everyone will agree. The weight lifted off your shoulders and the support you do get is so much sweeter. Don't be afraid to be you!
Nov 12, 2008
So far most of this week has gone smoothly accept the one guy I mentioned and one other I just found out about. The difference in the 2 is night and day though. As I've said the engineer has been very vocal to people ripping me behind my back at every chance. Apparently it is really bothering him. I've now heard such things as
I'm a loose cannon (somehow I'm now insane in his eyes)
I shouldn't be allowed to do it
He refuses to accept it
He refuses to acknowledge it
He refuses to work with me.
This last one he has no choice, he has to work with me because our jobs intertwine and I refuse to be cast aside in my role here. I've been here far longer than he has and it's not about how he feels about me, it's about getting a job done for the common goal of the company.
I knew he was homophobic and I knew he would probably have an issue. I just didn't realize that I would be his bitch session to 90% of the people in this building.
In his travels one of the group leaders who is also a friend of mine is now elevating this information to Human Resources. He feels this need to be taken care of now so that this individual doesn't start turning other people against me here. On another level it's just plain wrong to allow it to continue.
Guy #2 said
I don't understand it
I don't want to understand it
But I wish him and his family well.
Now that's something I can respect. I can easily respect someone who may not agree with it but acknowledges my right to exist. Such a stark contrast in human beings isn't it?
So, when does someone's right to feel comfortable become more important than my rights to feel comfortable with myself and not hate myself anymore. It's amazing to think I've spent 3 years of my life learning to not hate myself just so somebody else CAN hate me.
We can accept a host of anomalies in the human body and yet when it comes to sexuality it is not only taboo, it's wrong in some people's eyes. People like this would deny our right to exist simply to make thir self feel comfortable. It's something that I will never understand.
Now before anyone thinks it's all doom and gloom on my part, it isn't and I'm fine. In fact if this was 3-4 years ago I would have probably gone after the guy in a rage. Today because of the changes I can easily ignore it and let it roll and hope that H.R puts him in his place.
Nov 10, 2008
I got in at 6am and as planned I'm not going for shock value, the shock was more in people finding out than anything. A simple pair of jeans and girls short sleeved t-shirt was all I needed. Funny enough being a musician all my life each ear is pierced twice. I used to keep 4 hoops in them at all times. With this change I rarely wear them anymore. Kind of an ironic twist.
The email went out shortly after I got in, it took me about 15 minutes to get through the company listing just to add everyone I wanted too. Being there so long it was quite a long list of people.
When my coworker next to me read the email (He's known for 2 years) he was a little apprehensive about me using the word "transsexual". I guess he felt it might be a little strong for some. I explained that part of the direction of the email and the humor was the intention of it being shocking and that my attitude would actually temper the email. My read on it was right, the email paid dividends with several of the male employees telling me that it made all the difference in the world.
All in all I got a lot of words of encouragement. About 8am my HR rep stopped in on her way to the other building to make sure I was alright and see if I needed anything. She told me she would be turning in my name change for IT and the badges for our doors.
At one point one of the facilities guys dropped in. He is one of 2 guys that I used to talk bikes with and he has an incredible Harley. He came into our room and bent down to check the fire extinguishers on his monthly report and as he did this he said hey guys whats and stopped dead which caused me to burst out in laughter. My laughter caused him to start laughing and it broke the ice.
His coworker dropped in. This was one of the more macho guys in the company that I was very concerned over. He pledged his support of me and said that the email helped him put it in perspective. Apparently HR had said that there would be a zero tolerance policy regarding things being said and this made him feel that I was suddenly unapproachable. No more Redsox/Yankees talk he figured. But the email made him realize that at least with me it was quite the opposite and while he understand I'm changing, he gets to change with me and not overnight. Yes, it takes time to not only get used to changes but have them become second nature in your everyday thoughts and language.
For the most part I had a positive day and the only negativity that I heard about came from an engineer that I've never cared for. We just never seemed to have the ability to get along, we just seemed to tolerate each other. I was told his words were "It isn't right and he shouldn't be allowed to do this" Whatever ...
As my day closed out and I walked towards Diane sitting in my car in the lot I had a smile on my face. When I got in the car I noticed a dozen roses and a dark chocolate bar for me to congratulate me on my biggest step to date. Now it's the 2nd time I've gotten roses from Dee and this one means so much more to me.
I know the next few days will be hard for me but I also know that every new day lessens the shock, makes it go away and I won't be the flavor of the day anymore.
I rarely say this about myself because I don't like sounding like I'm high on my own list but for once, I'm proud of myself for sticking to my plan and not letting fear run me ... thanks for all the encouragement .. here's to a new life!
Nov 9, 2008
Aren't they awesome? I cannot even begin to explain what these meant to me in this blog. In the future this will surely be a story that is talked about. For now, the moment belongs to me.
Tonight sitting here Dee decided to snap a picture of me. It's pretty raw, no makeup and me looking pretty tired. Still it is important because it is the eve of the start of a more normal life for me and something I wanted to be able to look back on. I soo hate this picture because of how I look but I do understand that I want it documented...
Ew, I look gross in this... but hey, whatya want for 10 oclock at night!
Hope you're all well ... onward and upward peeps
Nov 8, 2008
Work being the final holdout in my life officially marks the end of the old and the beginning of the new. I tried to interject leavity in my email to make people understand that it isn't a crazy thing and they need not fear the unknown. I hope that some behing me will appreciate it for what it is and I hope everyone enjoys the humerous twist ...
It's not everyday that you get in on a Monday morning, grab your coffee, settle into your chair and flip the pc on, open your email and suddenly have your day start with "Oh by the way, I'm transsexual and I have gender identity disorder"
(I'll give you a moment to wipe the coffee from your monitor and keyboard)
Ok, now that you've cleaned your computer off and called over your coworker to ask them to reread that paragraph to you because you weren't quite sure you read it right the first time; you did. As shocking as that info might be for you, the reality is that for me I've had to relive that with each new person that I've told and it never seems to feel any less personal to me. With that stated let me explain.
When people hear news such as this is becomes quite a shock for several reasons. Generally it is assumed that this is just coming out of left field because the person affected has never exhibited signs of it in the past. The reality is that they did exhibit signs and probably have for their whole life, they have just done their best to hide it from the world because let's face it, it is sensitive personal information that in a lot of circumstance is used against the person dealing with it.
So, why me? Why now?
Well it isn't exactly now, this is an issue that has plagued me since I was a very young child and I did the best that I could to simply avoid dealing with it. Unfortunately for the people around me that sometimes meant me cracking under the stress and being hot under the collar and a little unapproachable. In fact if I've ever snapped at you off the cuff for something that seemed trivial, then it was probably due to the stress of trying not to deal and for that I truly apologize. Fighting this consistently kept me so stressed that it didn't take very much for me to go off on a tirade at times. I feel pretty badly about being this way with people over the years.
In 2005 after a life trying not to deal with this issue the pressures and life changing events made it almost impossible for me and I needed to seek help. This is exactly what brings me to this letter today.
Why you, why now?
The reason you are on this list is because I've had a positive past working relationship with you and quite honestly I have a lot of respect for you. In fact because of that respect, I wanted this news to be heard from me and not from the rumor mill. However, it is quite possible that the rumor mill got to you before this letter and if so then I'm sorry for not doing this sooner. I would have preferred that you heard it from me directly because you deserved at least that much respect.
About 6 months ago under the direction of my physicians and the set standards of treatment for this disorder I changed my name legally and changed it here at work with personnel. In an effort to protect my privacy and allow me to be able to emotionally handle people hearing this news, *** did not make it public, they waited for word from me to start making the more visible changes. Those changes start going into effect as of today, Monday Nov 10th.
I know this will be a hard thing for some people to grasp and it may seem a bit strange to suddenly have to rethink their psychological view of a person they have known a while, please understand that while this could be hard for you that this only happens to you once, I relive this with each new person that learns of the news. The good news for me is that my work environment is literally the last holdout of people who know. With that said please let me make a couple of key points.
Please note the humorous way I attempted to open this email to you. The reasoning is simple. All too often people treat situations like this as though it is a death sentence or as though the person affected suddenly becomes very unapproachable. In all honestly from a personal standpoint dealing with this issue has actually made me more approachable as I've started removing the single biggest piece of stress in my personal life. Just picture having a secret that is so fragile about your psyche that you know could do you damage and be forced to hide and suppress it for fear that you will be ostracized by your peers and family. To date, I have been incredibly blessed that this has been as positive a change as it has to the point that the people closest to me see a 180 degree positive change in me.
In making this change one of not only my biggest assets that have helped me in this is my sense of humor. I not only value this in my own life but in the people around me and in that, my friends and I have had some incredibly funny moments about this subject and myself. Please do not feel like you need to walk on eggshells around me it is simply not the case and it would bother me to have people feel that they did have too.
People have questions. People by nature are very curious and without asking questions they never get any sense of what this is all about. Education is a powerful tool and asking question opens the door to learning and understanding. I am very open and receptive to questions and I do my best to answer as openly and honestly as possible. I cannot always answer every question but I try to do my best with an open mind.
For me this change has been from the inside out for the last 3 years and for you it is in fact the polar opposite. It takes time to get used to changes and people make mistakes. I will never fault a person for making a mistake; it just isn't fair to assume that people just make a fundamental change over night. It takes time and I understand this so please don't feel like you are being insensitive by making a mistake. I will not get offended by it.
I understand that this challenges some peoples views and that some will simply view this as a choice. I assure you that for me, it is not a choice and it has been pointed out that there is in fact a biological basis to this. Please understand that I am doing something to give myself quality of life so I can be around in a happy and healthy manner for my family and for myself. I have respect for you and I hope that you will continue to have respect for me as well.
In closing as I have stated please feel free to ask questions if you need. I hope that we can all move forward in a positive way to not only keep a happy work environment here but a successful one for the company as a whole. I apologize for the long winded email but I did want people to get a decent sense of things.
Nov 4, 2008
Funny the things that hit you out of the blue. I was working away thinking about all that had to be done tonight, picking Diane's mom up from the airport, Voting, making dinner etc when the date hit me. It's Nov 4th. November 4th 1984 was the day that my grandmother passed away and I find that I miss her no less today than I did minutes after I lost her. The one real difference now is that with the change in hormone, I find it much harder to hold back my feelings on the matter. Yes I have even welled up with a tear several times. They say that time heals all wounds but sometimes it just dulls the pain a little.
My grandmother had a big role in my upbringing as we lived with her, she watched me most of the time, cooked for me and in a lot of cases made sure I never went without the essentials. It was tough on my mom being a single parent then but I can honestly say that my grandmother more than made up for the loss of the 2nd parent. If I needed it, she made sure I had it.
Alma was a little bit of a woman with a ferocious Canadian temper when needed. My mom and her brothers used to joke about my grandmother 8 rings that she would put on to smack you with. It used to irritate her so deeply when they would do that to her.
In the evening hours of November 8th after stopping by my band rehearsal space our old bass player Pete made note that he had seen my mom speeding up the road. When I inquired the direction I knew exactly where she was headed as my grandmother had been in the hospital after a heart attack. My grandmother had done severe damage to her heart. Being as stubborn as she had been she had been in pain for 3 days before ever telling my mom that something wasn't right. By that point the damage had been done in a major way.
After getting the news from Pete Diane and I got in my car and flew to the hospital in the next town over. I did make it in time to be with her when she passed and have that closure. I know she went peacefully with the people who loved her. For me I have never forgotten the feeling that I had at that moment and it is still with me to this day.
So, R.I.P Nana, you are missed.
I've had a family member inadvertently playing mind games with me over the past week. I know they don't understand that they are doing it to me but it doesn't make it sting any less.
Not long ago my sister mentioned that my nephew had been mad at me claiming that I mistreated him in my home. He had told her he slept at my house and attempted to make breakfast for us the next morning. He told her that he said he enjoyed it so much we would have to do it a lot more and claims that my response was "What for"
Let me start by saying that this nephew is a great guy. I also need to mention that he has in fact slept at my home. At no time has he ever cooked me breakfast so I'm a bit perplexed by the accusation. But in the name of fairness I explained to my sister that and told her that it's never been my intent to make him feel unwelcome in my house.
Recently his wife messaged me saying he accepted my apology for what I'd done to him and that they would love to see me. I've never actually apologized for what I've done because I hadn't done anything. The reality was that I only said if he ever felt unwelcome that I was sorry for that. I was happy that he wanted to see me. The next message went to now he's having problems but they wanted to set some time for the whole family then the final message was that he's having a hard time with this and he's not sure if he wants to see me.
I don't begrudge anyone his or her feelings and I'm the last person to ever want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. The seesaw of want to not want to is doing damage to me. I've already stated I don't want anymore drama in my life. To go from not wanting too, to wanting too, to maybe to unsure just plays an emotional game with me and it's not fair to me. I'm at the point of pulling back again to preserve my own well being.
I'm now inside of the 1 week countdown at work and it has not been easy on me. I'm not thinking this is a mistake in any way but I am getting the nervous cold feet. I'm only hoping that I can keep it under control enough to follow through. This is the single scariest step I've ever taken in my life, but then I'm sure I felt that way about changing my name as well.
Sunday Dee and I picked our friend Cynthia up and headed up to Tilton NH to an outlet Mall. I was looking for some cheaper jeans that I can wear to work and not worry about ruining them. We had a really nice time. I tried a bunch of boots on that I like as I need some and Diane was partial to one pair. The thing that constantly worries me is the heel. I'm so worried that it will make me stand out too much. On top of that in the boots we tried on I had to drop 1 shoe size down to fit. I don't know if my feet have shrunk or it's just the boot. The 1 set of boots that fit Dee loved but to me it would have screamed drag queen, something I am probably too aware or worried of.
When we got home that night the mood had struck me and I started cleaning the closet. Diane wondered what the hell was going on as she saw dress shirts flying down the stairs one by one. The mood hit and it just made me think it's time to start purging and donating some more of my stuff. Hopefully I'm not going to need it anytime in the future. In the purge I did find out that I amassed a lot more pairs of jeans than I had realized. I found out that I have a dozen pair, something Kev would have never done. It's to the point that Dee wants to change closet sides with me because she feels I'm going to end up with more clothes than her, (she could be right)
Yesterday I received a phone call from my old friend Mike's wife. If you recall I mentioned Mike passing away in one of my blogs last year. She has been asking me to teach his oldest son guitar. So in an effort to be above ground I told her what was going on with me and she seemed ok with things. She did say that when she saw me at the wake last year she knew something was up because of the change in my appearance. When I came up to pay my respects she hadn't recognized me and I figured that the changes had her guessing. We'll have to see what goes on from here.
Lastly and most importantly don't forget to get out and vote today. It's the single most important American right you have. I could care less who anyone votes for just so long as they vote. I'm very much looking forward to life going back to normal and we can erase battle lines and just go back to being Americans for a change and not Dems or Repubs …
Hope you're all well.