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.


Anonymous said...

Happy skinny-dipping. I can hardly wait. I'm so excited for you. :)Suzi

the CFG said...

(*and other sounds of frustration*)

I don't comment on blogs, or write a blog anymore...for quite some time now.
But I've never stopped reading yours.

You've painted a very good picture of your life. We can visualise it well. But we can't visualise your own psyche...what it is that truly holds you back. We refrain from telling you "just jump!! We can't wait any longer, please!!".
That would be wrong.
We don't *truly* know you.

The day of going "full time". My employer has an "occupational health" facility, and the nurse there still reminds me how she's touched by my words about that day. She once said "wow! I can only imagine how difficult that day was, walking into the office, how nervous you must have been!".
I replied: "well, and this will surprise you, it was the easiest day of my life once it arrived. Easier than everything that had gone before. Now my life got easier."

Transition is *SO* much about everyone else. Are they ready? What will they say? Are they talking about me? Do they accept me? What do they think of me?

At some point, it has to be a selfish process. It has to be about health. An optimum way to live. We just make the best of the hand of cards we are dealt.

Go back, stay where you are, go forward, take as much or as little time as you wish.
It's not a race....
Sure, for me, it was...I hated the process of transition, and wanted to get through it. I'm at about stage 23 of 26.
Going full time is a beginning, of many beginnings. You will change. You can't "know what you don't know", and your identity as a working woman will teach you things you should have learned as a teenager.

Ultimately (and sorry for writing so much here), make the decision for yourself, and for no-one else, and make it based upon your health, IF YOU CAN. People don't transition for many reasons, and that is fine too. They balance their own health.

At the end of the day, whatever you do, this is a happy time of your life, enjoy each day, and the new friends you have, and the truly unique experience you've had so far :-)

Much love xx

Leslie Ann said...

Shannon, you have to realize that your Mom is going to be the last person that will accept the female you. That doesn't make her bad. She will have to see you doing it for real, full time, in order to understand it.

The way you describe her has changed a lot. She has really mellowed. She's still a bit embarrassed by your androgyny, but I feel certain that she is calmer about all this because she and your Dad have noticed how much happier you are now. Good parents (and I think they are) ultimately just want their kids to be happy.

Whatever you decide, you know your friends have your back.

Caroline said...

Family seem to be the slowest to change their perception, we have spent our lives doing a good job of twisting ourselves inside out to fit with their preconceived ideas of who and what we are that it is hard for them to re-programme to the real situation.

One day you are going to make that last tiny step forward to a life with a real identity which you can be proud of. It is so sad that the one who should be giving you the most unconditional love and support has you in a strangle hold.

Candy has not spoken for six months! You have us all in a state of nervous exhaustion. It can't be long now!

Caroline xx

Amy K. said...

Parental judgments can be the hardest to get over. Many parents chafe at seeing that you are no longer following their guidance, and they may act as if you're eight years old again, to get you to do what they want you to. "I'm very disappointed in you." If a friend or acquaintance said that to you, you might say something like, "Oh. Sorry." But when mom and dad say it: "What??? Noooooo! Please don't be disappointed!" But that baby bird is now all grown up and busting out of her cage. It's time for her to fly.

Syl said...

I guess I read your Mom's position completely differently, but that's perhaps because I know you a little bit better - but not your Mom. My mind reads your Mom as saying "My dear, you need to wear two shirts or a bra & shirt to be appropriately modest." :P Maybe this could be a next step for you the next time you go out with her? Keep the shape hugging top, but wear an appropriate undergarment?

Unless I missed my guess completely.

I'd suggest a nice Cami with some lace showing at your waist out from under the shirt like many girls do these days.

Good luck! You know we're all behind you. o:)


Tina said...

Wow! I'm offline a few days and miss your post. Lots of great comments and post from your friends too...good words of support and advice!

So; your Mom don't get it, some folks at work don't get it, random people don't get it. But, lots of people DO get it. Isn't it like that for everyone? Not everyone understands the other. The important thing is; that you understand YOURSELF. I don't even get the whole structured transition thing but everyone has to do what works for them. As Candy said, this isn't a race. Just do what's best for you when it's best for you to do it. There are a lot of people who support you whatever you do, whether we get it or not. I think you're doing just fine!

Peace, Tina

ms.shandy said...

@Tina It's true that it's not a race, but for me, the time has come and I know it. I don't think there's anyway it can become easier than it would be right now and I feel the need to move forward fast. Full time by the end of the year! ;)

@Syl I knew this is what you were going to say even as I was writing this blog. LOL! You are partially right. Mostly she doesn't want me looking feminine, but the impropriety of running around braless definitely doesn't help. Though I sincerely doubt she will initially be content with the alternative either. I think no matter how I approach it we're going have some friction for now. That friction is finally starting to lessen though, as I mention in today's blog. :)

@AMY YES! That is exactly it. Parental approval is often more important to us than the approval of most others, especially for people from close knit families. Its natural and I think their opinions will always matter a lot to me, but at least I have finally grown up enough to stand up to them when it is absolutely necessary-most the time. :P

@Caroline I think you are very right about families adjusting slower than most others. We do build an image, and they perceive that construct as genuine. And of course family is the most concerned about us, and a lot of worry comes with this process. :)

@Leslie I do get frustrated with Mom, but I understand how she feels too. You are right that she has mellowed. Even a slight bit more since this entry and it's such a relief to me. :)

@CFG I really appreciate that you took the time to write such an extended comment. I read it three times that day and more since. LOL! You are right about so many things, especially that this process has to be about the individual and not about anyone else.

What you say about learning things you should have learned as a teenager really rings true. I am already feeling the beginnings of that as my social circumstances despite my not being fully out. Often I find myself acting much as you would expect from a particularly awkward teenage girl less than half my age. Being finally out should accelerate that process I hope. LOL

So nice hearing from you and I hope all is well. :)

Love! =)

@Suzi Won't be long now. I was feeling a bit down the day I wrote this particular piece, but most of the time I am fairly confident right now. If things continue as they are going there should be a name change blog soon! :)

Thanks everyone XOXOXOXO