Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Very Interesting

I came out to another co-worker!  She already knew generally what was happening and I think I learned more from her than she did from me.  For instance, lots of the men at work are extremely uncomfortable about this and speculate quite a bit.  My boss told her that implying that what I am doing is okay is saying that God makes mistakes. Her boss actually asked her to snoop around and find out for him a while back, whether I am transexual.  None of that surprises me, but a little more affirmation always paints a clearer picture.

Not everything I found out was bad though.  She said it's mainly men that have a problem with me.  I told her I was going full time by the end of the year, and she told me I already am full time, and that I make a lot better looking girl than guy.  She figured I was probably getting a lot of flak over everything and had noticed that there is pepper spray on my keychain.  Said she had mentioned the pepper spray to another co-worker, who said that I was to sweet to be bothered and that if anyone was harassing me she would beat them up! :)

She told me a really funny story too.  While I was at central office earlier in the week, a guy I didn't know walked in and joined the conversation at the front desk.  Apparently he ended up asking about "that girl here earlier, with the curly hair."  

I was called Miss Shannon again today, this time by a substitute teacher while working in a classroom.  

I'm so happy with the way things are going!  I'm going full time soon.  :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Then-Now-Whoah! :P

The last few days have been so positive.  Friday, I switched from the pharmacy I chose for privacy over an hour away, to my local pharmacy.  The convenience is nice, but even more importantly it indicates my progress over the past year.  I got my first written prescription 15 months ago and the thought of trying the local pharmacy then barely crossed my mind.  I imagined having to go in completely in a male mode of dress, with prescriptions that could only mean one thing.  It was  easy to picture them being rude and I could imagine the rumors that would start.  It was unthinkable, and so I chose something more distant.

Even an hour and a half away there was the possibility that a pharmacist or tech could be from my home town.  For the first few months I was extremely nervous about going.  They were some of the few people in my part of the world who knew about my transition in those early days, and I felt self conscious.  Because of the distance it was usually necessary to leave straight from work, and I would get made up and change in my car so that I could present myself with s bit more confidence.  Still it was stressful back then.  On days that I didn't have time to change clothes and put on makeup I felt miserable going there looking male.

Now everything is so different.  I can leave on my lunch break, drive 3 minutes to the local pharmacy, and walk right in.  I wasn't at all nervous the first visit and the idea that word could get out didn't  bother me at all.  I'm ready for people to know.  My work presentation and physical transition has evolved enough that I felt completely confident wearing my work clothes, which are mostly gender appropriate (except the shoes LOL!)  It is just hard to believe that a year ago I was sneaking away to a place an hour away and finding deserted parking lots to do my makeup on.  Everyone was nice to me as well.

It's a simple change, but I think it indicates how much more comfortable I'm becoming with myself, my home town and the people around me.  Sunday I went to the lake with my parents.  Mom didn't suggest that I wear a coverup over the V neck thermal I chose. Today one of my calls got disconnected and the caller was routed to Kim when she called back.  When Kim handed the phone off to me she told the caller "Here they are, I'll put them on."  Rather than he and him.  

Shortly after the call, I was still in Kim's office  and a student came in looking for me.  She asked Kim if she could "speak to Miss Shannon."  Lots of students are smiling and greeting me now too, even some of the guys! 

I think it's all coming together and I can't remember the last time I felt this hopeful about my future here.  :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Cage of My Own Design

A few days ago while checking email at work I realized that October is drawing to a close.  Seems like only a blink ago when it was still September and I was telling myself that if electrolysis recovery was smooth and didn't effect my appearance negatively, that I should feel confident to go full time by the end of October.  As I thought about it I realized I still could not see myself standing in line at the courthouse for a name change.  It felt impossible and unreal.  

I sifted my thoughts, looking for the source of my hesitation.  They were myriad. I'm not satisfied with my fall wardrobe.  I need shoes, bags, more work appropriate fall tops.  With what I have now, I'm just not going to have the confidence. Then there is my brother in Ohio.  I've still told him nothing.  He should probably know.  Those are things that I can quickly resolve though, I realized.  I could hop on the Kohl's and Zappo's websites and round out my fall wardrobe with a few pieces easily.  I had already written my brother and all I had to do was simply hit the send button.  

The one thing I could not get past though was Mom.  I thought back to the weekend, when they invited me out for dinner.  As I stepped out the door she reminded me, as she often does, that I was only wearing one shirt.  At the time I had been wearing a snug  navy crew neck tee with close fitting London Jeans.  At the time I felt hurt and angry.  It was an insult.  It was her telling me that I look to weird to wear a tee shirt and jeans without some big long floppy shirt to cover up my shape.  It was her telling me that she was embarrassed of me.  it washer saying I should be embarrassed of myself, that I needed to cover up.  Every time she says it I grit my teeth and find myself wanting to tell the truth.

I wanted to tell her that my little secret was already out, that I was not embarrassed of my body, that I actually had a degree of pride for the first time in my life and that her shame couldn't take that away from me.  But I didn't say anything.  I just went back inside and put on a giant men's shirt down past my ass and hit the door looking like a figureless scarecrow.

If I couldn't even stand up to her enough to handle that, how was I ever going to tell her that I was going full time?  So that was the truth I realized.  I'm not going to be ready to tell her by the end of October.  After November starts I will feel I can't upset the holidays with this upheaval.  If I don't act now, then in January I will probably have a brand new excuse.  

I stepped into the hall.  (My name is not Kimble, but lets pretend for a sec, for privacy sake. :P  )  A student stopped me. "Mr.  Kimb..........  Ms. Kimble?"

The girl was wanting to ask me if I had found a keychain in the lab that I was just leaving, but I was still stuck on Miss. Kimble.  I get called Miss.  But here, I'm not fully out and I wasn't expecting anyone to say that for a while.  I was so happy, I couldn't stop smiling.  You would have to be pretty sure about what is going on with me to feel comfortable using that title.  How much more evidence do I need that it is time to move on?

Today I was in a classroom and a teacher refereed to me as a gentleman.  As he said it one of the girls in the class glanced up and made eye contact with me.  There was this sense that she had looked up specifically to gauge my reaction.  Most people seem content not to bat titles and pronouns around unnecessarily relating to me.  I've mostly graduated from tech guy to "tech person" this year, and there's only a hand full of people who ever call me sir.  Something as unnecessary as "move so this gentleman can .....blah blah blah..." had caught me completely off guard.  As the girl glanced up to check my reaction, I probably looked pretty angry.

I've got to get past this awkward stage.  Everyone knows, and by continuing to hide I'm just making everything more difficult than it needs to be.  I've been advancing slowly, laying the ground work.  There have been no sudden moves, but rather a gradual shift.  But its like getting into a cold pool.  You can dip a toe and slowly start tempering, but there still comes a time when you have to take the plunge.  I think I'm there. I must stand up to Mom and put this in-between phase behind me.  It's time to settle this.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Zap: Follicles Under Attack

It has been a while since I've written, and things have been fairly eventful.  Usually under those circumstances I write up some massive, blathering, sleepy chronological thing to try to catch back up.  This time though I'm going to try to do better and cover different topics separately.

So, let's start with electrolysis.  A few weeks ago, it became obvious that I needed to switch over.  There is very little hair left, and laser doesn't seem to effect many hairs each session anymore.  Shortly before that an electrologist came to the Transkentucky meeting on a session I missed, and I kept hearing good things about her.

A few weeks ago I called.  She was extremely nice and we chatted for some time.  During the conversation she seemed both competent and nice.  She eased a lot of my fears about recovery time and raised my confidence in the technology.

Since then I have had two one hour sessions, two weeks apart.  Those have went very well.  The pain is minimal and the skin looks almost completely normal within just a few hours.  Unlike laser, each hair is individually tweezed so there is no waiting for weeks to see how much will shed.  Also I was able to shave comfortably the very next day.  This is so much easier than laser that it would be easy to start worrying that the settings are too low.  But each time a hair is tweezed it comes out without a sharp sensation;  no feeling except friction.  I think that is a good sign.

My electrologist says this is mild because its one of the best machines available.  We are working with blend electrolysis, which uses galvanic as well as thermodynamic components in tandem, one creating a lye based reaction at the root of the follicle, while the other type accelerates the reaction through electricity or heat.  (I get them mixed up.)  Either technology is proven to kill hair, but apparently blend has very serious advantages.  One of the two individual technologies is faster with less time per follicle, but blend heals more easily, and is therefore a bit more stealthy.

I'm just so glad I found such a great electrologist.  She is one of the only six certified in the state.  She has been great about scheduling and has an excellent manner.  Pricing is very reasonable too!

I'll be continuing my treatments every two weeks.  Right now my upper lip is almost clear, which is such a relief because it has been a difficult area.  Besides that we have started clearing stray hairs along the sides of my mouth as well.  Next time it might be possible to get that all cleared enough to start on the chin.  :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Something Funny at Penn Station

While out on a drive to London, KY with my parents I stopped by Penn Station for a quick lunch.  Dad went in with me and was in line just ahead of me.  I was presenting as I often do when traveling with my parents.  Men's shirt over a women's crew neck and jeans, no make-up, clunky androgynous boots and curly unkempt hair.  After taking my order the clerk asked for my first name, which is typical at Penn Station.  They key your first name in at the register and it prints on the order so that the cashier further down can find you if the line gets shuffled, and so that they can call your name when your order is ready.

Dad and I got our drinks and waited at a table for our carry out order.   It was fairly crowded and loud, making conversation pretty much futile.  While I was sitting bored checking my email and sipping at my fruit punch, a second  worker started calling for Shayna.  There were quite a few people waiting for orders but I realized, very happily, that the first clerk had misunderstood my name and put me in the system as Shayna.  Which was nice, because if she had perceived me as a guy and couldn't hear my name she probably would have assumed Shannon, Shawn or something along those lines.

It felt awakrd though, because I was with Dad.  He and Mom have never shown any indication that they consider me at all passable.  If I got up and went to the counter I'd be acknowledging that I thought the clerk saw me as female.  I could just imagine Dad sitting there silently thinking that I have a totally delusional self image.  Worse yet,  what if I got to the counter and they had not misheard me?  What if I went up and there really was a Shayna.  How embarrassing would that be with Dad there?

I snapped out of my garbled thoughts, realizing the sub guy was calling Shayna forward for the third time and was starting to look a bit annoyed.  I just stared, still unable to settle on a course of action.  Then Dad relieved all my anxiety.  "I believe that's you." he said in a low voice from across the table.  I dared look his direction for the first time since the name "Shayna" was called.  He was wearing a slightly awkward smile. 

I happily picked up my bag at the counter and sauntered back to the table glowing with pride.  Dad was smiling back less awkwardly now.  I think he was maybe even happy for me.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A Letter

Last Friday my brother sent me a friend's request on Facebook.  There was no message with it; just a blank request.  Its odd.  Here I am on the verge of going full time, yet knowing my brother had located me on Facebook set my heart racing.  Not only that, but every time I opened the email notification about the request for the rest of the day my heart stated racing again.  I had not even realized that I was that afraid of him finding out.

The profile under my real name is locked down tight.  I can't be searched, and all the fields are locked.  The photo is fairly androgynous.  But the email address I used is on my brother's address list so I've realized for a while now that I'm probably being suggested as a contact.  Not only that, but since part of my info is locked, if my brother actually clicked it he got a "Shannon does not share all her info...." message.  

The Facebook invite reminded me of just how much I have delayed on telling him.  I'll be out soon.  Near Christmas he will visit.  It would not be fair for me to put this off and let him find out what is going on when he sees me on his visit.  Inevitably he is going to find out and clearly the time is here.

I drafted a letter tonight.  I'm very impulsive and find myself wishing to just send it and find out what happens.  But his opinion matters a lot to me so I need to make absolutely sure I'm ready.  I'll think about it for a few days and then decide what to do.  Or rather when and how to do it.