Saturday, November 27, 2010

Work Fashion Preview

A sampling of my new work wardrobe stuff.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shopping and Catching Up With Friends

I haven't gotten to hang out with my two favorite local friends very much lately.  So when (hmm, lets make up some names....) Jack and Diane invited me out of town last Saturday I jumped at the chance!

The trip was required for Jack, who had an all day meeting.  That left Diane and I with a girl's day out sort of situation, which was just awesome!   We had lots of time to chat and catch up, ate some Taco Bell for lunch in the car, sat on a bench on the college campus for a long chat, and drove around checking out the town.  It was all just great.

But the highpoint was the shopping.  We hit Factory Connection and the merchandise and prices were amazing.  I've mentioned for a while now that I need work clothes and that I have a hard time shopping for them.  When I think about work I always imagine that I'm going to be under my co-workers' microscope and completely over analyzed this January.  Thinking about it makes me feel a need to over-analyze too, and to make sure every purchase is inscrutable.

When I walked into this store, I was hit with much the same feeling.  I just started going through the racks, feeling overwhelmed by all the worries.  Shopping for clothes is easy.  Shopping for acceptance-not so much.

Diane was great though and helped me get past it.  She started pointing out things she knew I would like.  She was so excited about all of her finds and the enthusiasm was contagious.  Before long, I was actually picking out pieces to too, and once the dressing room was unlocked and I had tried on a few things, I was pretty much unstoppable!

I ended up with stuff that is work appropriate, flattering and very much in sync with my sense of style.  I didn't hold back and this trip marks a complete departure from the androgynous clothing choices I've made in the past few months.  I think I am geared up for the entire winter season now.  After winter break I will be full time, and my limited wardrobe was one of the biggest remaining hurdles.  It is very exciting to finally have that sorted.  I love the way I look in all these clothes too, which helps my confidence.  And coming out at work, confidence is always a good thing.  :)

After Jack got out he had Taco Bell too, and then we hit the next town over and shopped Burke's Outlet.  Jack and Diane walked around checking out the whole store.  I had a very specific purpose in mind though.  For my coming out I have clothes, shoes and outerwear all covered.  But I needed a nice versatile bag.

In the end I found a brown metallic   Kathy Van Zeeland bag at an outrageously low price. It is probably the nicest bag I have ever had, and the color should prove versatile.

I've really always wanted the convenience of being able to carry a bag.  I stopped carrying men's wallets two years ago, and since then everything I carry on a daily basis gets shuffled between coat boxes, the car glove box, pants pockets, desk drawers and my laptop case all day.  Then on weekends when I am out, it all gets migrated into luggage and purses.  Its very hard to keep up with anything this way.

 It is going to be so wild, being able to just put everything in a bag and always know where it is.  As my first bag for every day carry, I'll probably end up developing quit an attachment to it. I also got a wallet and a 7 day pill box to take care of my remaining storage needs.

In Burke's we ran into one of my co-workers, who was, according to Jack and Diane, sneaking around trying to get a good enough look to positively identify me.  I really wasn't dressed for greeting co-workers, in much less androgynous clothing than I generally pick for around the office.  They are used to turtlenecks, crew necks and such, not off the shoulder cowl necks and embroidered stretchy jeans with rhinestones all the way down the sides.  I could not leave the bag though, so I decided to take my chances and check out anyway.  She ended up striking up a conversation with Jack and Diane as they waited in line behind me and I knew at that point I had definitely been made.  I still didn't turn around though.  I'm full time in just a few work weeks and the game is up.  No worries!

After Burke's we all got sandwiches at Penn Station (where they wrote me up as Shana yet again.) Then we headed home for an evening of chatting and watching movies.  We picked Avatar, which turned out to be a bit of a let down.  Diane pointed out some similarities between it and Pocahontas and we ended up making fun of most of the first half.  Then the movie got more serious and I ended up getting drawn in despite all the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 type commentary, and the presence of umpteen gazziolion cliches, from the bad ass marine with a heart of gold, to the stereotypical tomboy femme fatale pilot, and General Duke Nukem.

I stayed over night and Sunday we watched Steel Magnolias, which I could write a whole separate blog on.  I have an acne spot beside my right eye that probably has something to do with all the crying I did.  Steve fell asleep.  LOL!

We spent the last part of the evening on a technical project for Diane's class.  I love that sort of thing so I enjoyed helping out, and learned some software stuff I didn't know too!

Monday morning it was hard to believe the weekend was over, but it was only a two day week and I was feeling so confident had happy after the wonderful weekend.  I was very productive and happy for those two days.

In the hall during the last class change of the day a student stopped me.  "I saw you this weekend!" she exclaimed happily.

"Oh, where at?" I asked, more curious than alarmed.


"Oh yeh!" I said, and waved as I made my way down the hall.

These dreams move on.

Is it cloak 'n dagger?
Could it be spring or fall?
I walk without a cut,
through a stained glass wall.
Weaker in my eyesight,
the candle in my grip,
and words that have no form
are falling from my lips.


A few months ago I wrote a silly blog about a romantic dream I had.  In the comments I ended up discussing the snake dream that used to wake me often.  It started happening in my childhood.  In the dream I was always walking somewhere and would suddenly spot a coiled snake in range to strike.  Then I would start running but everywhere I went there would be more and more snakes.  I would run past them faster and faster, my speed making it harder to spot them on time to stop or turn before being bitten.

In the comments last time I mentioned that those dreams started to happen less often after I started transition and eventually ceased all together.

Last week I dreamed about snakes again for the first time in two years.  It started the same as ever.  I was walking along, this time through my parents' house, and happened upon a partially hidden snake at close range.  Normally my mind would have cast it as a threat and I would have began running and then my subconscious would have generated more snakes to terrorize me as I ran.  This time though something different happened.  My sleeping brain decided to cast it as a pet.  As I looked at the snake, I knew I was supposed to take care of it.   I was somewhat afraid of the snake, but I felt responsible for it.  As it crawled around the house, I had to keep the dogs from killing it,  keep it away from Kupo, my parrot, and try to protect it form people who might accidentally step on a creature of such short stature. 

Toward the end I rolled over the back part of its tail with an office chair and I was absolutely terrified that I might have hurt the snake and was doing my best to nurture and mend the poor thing.

I'm not big on dream interpretation but when you have a scary dream all of your life, then it quits happening, and  the object of your dream returns cast in a totally different light, it is hard for even a skeptic not to wonder if there is some meaning behind it.

Maybe the snake represents my gender issues, and while I was terrified and running, I am now trying to address those issues, to take care of it.  That is sort of like the snake I suppose.  Last time this was discussed in blog comments I looked up a meaning that suggested snakes are often guardians in dreams, locking away primal parts of your nature.  I am a woman and I kept that locked away and tried not to face it for years. Maybe the snakes in my previous dreams were guardians of that locked away portion of my nature, and now that I've accepted and begun to express my gender I don't need fearsome guardians to bar that door any more so my sleeping brain now casts the snake in a different light 

At any rate, I was terrified of those dreams as a child, and ran from the snakes several times a month well into adulthood.  Then as I started to come to terms with my gender issues the dreams stopped.  And now, on the cusp of presenting full time in my proper gender, the snake is back in my dreams but I'm not running.  I'm nurturing it.   That shift from fear to nurture is what makes it so intriguing to me.  

There have been lots of other shifts in my dreams too.  My own physical manifestation in dreams has always been very closely tied to reality.  I was always cast physically male, but not happy with it.  I never dreamed of an idealized me, but rather of the image that haunted me in the mirror daily in my waking life.  The same was true with my treatment in dreams by other people.  Much as in real life, I was generally treated as male.

When I started going part time, it changed a little.  Sometimes I would be cast in that role, and I would be wondering in my dreams if I was getting clocked and if I was about to get outed.  Sometimes there were moments in dreams when I would be talking to some imaginary dream person and they would realize my biological origins and their demeanor would change.  Just like in reality.  All the fears in my real life follow me into my dreams with a very direct representation with no symbolism really involved.

Now as my confidence builds, I'm generally socially accepted as a girl in my dreams, and the fears of being outed aren't there as often. I'm troubled by such thoughts less when I am encountering new people in reality, so I guess it makes sense that such fears have less impact on my dreams now.  

Since lots of things are represented directly in my dreams,  it seems logical that the snakes might actually represent snakes and noting more.  I have always been afraid of them.  But if so the sudden change in the snake's role in my dream doesn't make any sense.  I saw one in person toward the end of this summer and my heart was racing.   As I settled afterward I actually felt shaky, stiff, and a bit dizzy.  So the new dream definitely isn't based on a new bravery toward the concept of snakes.  :P

To me the whole thing feels like some sort of subconscious graduation.  LOL!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mistaken Identity...

This post has some made up names in it.  LOL!


Today I walked into a local store.  I was looking rough.  I had worn makeup the day before, had not washed my face because I was staying over night with friends and went to bed late.  Basically I just got up this morning, brushed my teeth, threw on my more androgynous clothes from Friday and hit the store for something me and my friends could fix quickly for lunch.

When I got to the counter with my Tostino's party pizzas,  Lay's chips and Tostito's queso,  the clerk gave me an odd look.  My first thought was that she just thought I was weird looking.  It turned out that instead she was trying to decide whether she recognized me.  

"Are you Cindy's daughter?"

"Er...  No, I'm Bill and Jeana Darkstar's ....."  I faltered.  Daughter was on the tip of my tongue and I so wanted to say it.  But this is a small community and everyone mostly knows everyone.  She would realize right away that to her knowledge Mom and Dad have no daughters.  And if word got back that I was saying I was female already, it would push things to fast.  My coming out is still a month away.  I thought it through quickly before finishing my sentence.  "....son."

It stung to say it.  I am a woman and being recognized as my true gender is always a triumph.  Especially when I'm presenting in such a natural state.  It felt awful refuting her completely accurate gender assertion.  The word "son" tasted bitter in my mouth.

She looked completely confused.  "What?", she asked with a quiet politeness.

"I'm Bill and Jeana Darkstar's....."  I trailed off, unable to speak that bitter word a second time, and still regretting the first time.  

She paused and thought a long moment before saying "You look a lot like Cindy Darkstar's daughter."

I was blushing.  The girl she had confused me with is a distant cousin 7 years younger than me.  Pretty high praise for a mid transition transexual girl coming off of a long day of shopping and a long night of movie watching who hasn't shaved, done make up, or combed her hair in 36 hours.

She tried to apologize, and I told her it was fine.  She told me that I'm pretty either way.  "That's a good thing right?"

I thanked her for the compliment and we said our good byes.  As I was stepping away from the counter we both said "Thank ya' much."  in perfect unison.  So odd because I don't think I've ever heard anyone besides me say exactly that line.  15 years ago I would have said "JINX!"  LOL!  

I left the store feeling extremely good about myself and with a sudden burst of energy. 


 There have been so many positive signs this weekend.  But the rest of the story is a bit longer and more involved.  Maybe I'll get to type it all up tomorrow.  Right now though, I'm just feeling incredibly blessed and very much prepared for coming out completely during the late part of next month.  I've got the most amazing friends, and transition is going wonderfully.  Just so many blessings and I'm trying very hard to relish it all and take none of it for granted. :)

An Email

For a few weeks now I've been saying that I absolutely must open communication with my brother by some means.  Shortly after those early mentions I wrote an email that came out to be fairly lengthy.  I opened by mentioning how hard it was to tell him in particular because the importance of his opinion and because I hate to worry him.  From there I gave a description of what it means to be transexual, a brief history of my lifelong issues, and a rundown of my current situation.  The huge steps coming in the near future were also discussed in short.  I closed with the most important part;  that whether he approves or understands, I hope that our relationship will not be damaged.

I read the letter over, occasionally making small changes, over the past few weeks.  No matter what though, it always felt blunt and jarring.  So I never sent it.  That is until last Wednesday.  The holidays are fast approaching, everyone in the county knows yet my own brother does not.  Something had to be done.  I reread the letter a few more times that evening and made a few small adjustments.  I realized at this point that no matter how you say it, there is no way to comfortably tell a very close friend and relative that you are transexual.  I could text, I could call, write a shorter email, a longer email.  In the end, emotionally it will be very much the same for the person receiving the communication.  There is no magical way to make it all easier.

My cursor hovered over the Send button for quite a while.  I wasn't scared like I have been sending similar emails over the past few years.  There was just a sense of gravity and anticipation.   He is one of the most important people in my life.  When I clicked Send finally, there was a strong sense of relief and I went to bed happy.  I had finally opened one of the most important lines of communication I ever would.

I.  I was a bit nervous waiting for a response, but not disappointed. I knew it would take some time for him to digest the information, and that the actual response might not be easy to write.    I checked at every opportunity, excited for news, but did not truly expect to hear anything back before the weekend.

Friday when I found his name in my Inbox I smiled.  As I read I just wished I could hug him.  He wrote back a letter every bit as long as what I had sent, and it was very clear that it was just as well thought out.  He told me that he had known something was up with me for a while, but had not known exactly.  The rumors had not found their way to him and Mom and Dad had hardly mentioned it.  He suspects our parents had decided to stay vague to shield him for now.  I find that very likely.  That was one of the reasons I waited to tell him too.  He is just so busy with school and work, and didn't need more to worry about.

He said it was hard to understand, but was trying and it would take time.  He wrote that he intends to be supportive though and that I'll hold no less of a place in his heart, though it is almost like having someone new step into the place reserved for his brother.  He also mentioned that his fiance is very supportive of me, which was great news as well. One of my favorite thing about his letter is that toward the end he was comfortable interjecting a bit of humor.

His response seemed very sincere and caring, and I couldn't have asked for more.  =)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More of my insane spontaneity.

Last weekend was supposed to be mostly relaxing.  I had an electrolysis appointment in Lexington, but after that I was going to call friends in the area, see if anyone wanted to hang out for a bit, then drive home before dark and settle in to rest and take care of things at home for the rest of the weekend.

Instead, while I was in electrolysis, I got a call from my friend Debbie in Louisville, another hour and a half from home.  They were wanting to have dinner out, then go to another restaurant that was presenting live music at the bar.  I explained that I was recovering from electrolysis, had no luggage, no clothes, was dressed ridiculously casual.  She offered full access to her closet (we were the same size until she dropped a dress size this year) mentioned that another friend had left a bag of shoes in my size that I was to take home and could therefore use.  Being a Mary Kay rep she offered me access to a wide array of beauty supplies to make up for my lack of luggage.  It seemed doable!

I explained to my parents that I was extending my trip and told about my plans.  Mom seemed fairly comfortable with it so I started on to Louisville.  I arrived with plenty of time, so Debbie and I ran out to Kroger  so I could get a few cheap essentials I was short on since I wasn't packed for travel.  While there Debbie talked me into dying my hair before we went out.

I've never done home color but Debbie talked me into Clairol Natural Instincts in Nutmeg.  I was nervous about it, and my first impression afterward was not at all good.  It seemed to kill my natural highlights and low lights, leaving an unnaturally flat and uniform color.  It looks fine as I write now several days later, but on the night in question I was terrified. :P

Debbie suggested a few possibilities for my evening wardrobe, but in the end we both preferred a black velour  fitted shift dress.  The dress was a major confidence boost - almost enough to counter not having my own colors of makeup, the uni-tone hair, and the facial swelling from electrolysis.  Up until now, I have not been very confident about my figure being dramatic enough and tended to pick stretchy dresses to push for every bit of curvature I could show.  This dress lay lightly across my curves, not too tight or too loose, but just perfectly following the contour of my body as if tailored for me.

As I was preparing to leave I had such a funny moment.  I was walking down Debbie's hall, and at the end is a full length mirror.  Standing there was someone who looked like me, yet more refined.  Pearls and a classy black shift, with black angle boots and a strand of pearls.  Watching myself glide down the hall toward the mirror I was near laughter.  Maybe for one night I could trick people into thinking this Taco Bell chick actually belongs in five star restaurants.

We met up with the rest of our friends and had a great dinner at Winston's.  The food was far costlier than I am accustomed to, but it was quite nice.  I had 3 little medallion cut steak things under a bleu cheese sauce and garnished with.... I have no idea.  At any rate it was good, and the atmosphere was nice.

After that we proceeded to Jack Ruby's downtown.  The band was great and I felt pretty comfortable despite the elitist crowd.   Out of our party of five, three of us were either CD or TS and quite tall, making pass-ability somewhat of a challenge.  The other transgender girls in my party seemed very uncomfortable with the attention, but I didn't care.  No one said anything out of the way but the group at the next table over ask to pose for photos with us at our table, which I found a bit insulting.  Though they were very polite and gracious about the whole thing it still left me feeling like a bit of a curiosity.

Afterward we went bar hopping.  Our options were limited because a few of us had come without IDs.  We ended up at some hole in the wall called the Monkeywrench.  They had a live reggae band, practically no one was on the first floor, and the first floor smelled like marijuana.  A blonde with dreadlocks trippin' on drugs opened a rather one sided conversation with us that mostly consisted of telling us to "Stay cool." and other such sage advice.  Tina would have loved her, as she was incredibly mellow.  LOL! After about 15 minutes in the bar we decided it wasn't really our scene and decided to move on.  She left us with the parting words "Hey ladies, be nice."  Next we were at the Back Door, which has a pool hall/road house kind of feel.  It was a rough looking crowd but we were treated well.

We all got home by 2 AM, but Debbie and I chatted until 4.  We were all supposed to be back up and ready for brunch by 11 AM, so I only slept until 9.  Sunday was hectic. My confidence from the previous night was gone with the black dress back in the closet and again wearing my jeans and top from  the day before.  I managed to have a good time at brunch anyway though.

We ended the day with shopping at Dillard's but I didn't buy anything.   I'm not really sure what I want to wear for work.  Usually I can shop for stuff that catches my eye and shop without over thinking it.  But in January I can't break this feeling that I have something to prove and I keep worrying and overcomplicating the decisions.  :P

I enjoyed my trip, but by the end I was so ready to be home.  Shorty after I hit the road though I realized I had left my phone in Mary's car.  Hmm, no phone.  I can't find any house in town except Debbie's without help, and ten minutes until Debbie was leaving for work.  I rushed back to her house and caught her just before she left and she called Mary who had already found my phone and voicemailed Debbie.  While she was waiting for me at Oxford mall I got lost, couldn't find her on the lot and I was stressed about wasting part of her weekend waiting around.

I hated getting a late start but it was nice getting to chat Mary for a bit.  I've only met her on two trips but she is one of the most encouraging people I've ever been around.  Debbie had asked me at brunch when I planned to do GRS and such and Mary seemed legitimately shocked that I wasn't finished.  She said she had just assumed.  At Jack Ruby's she said I was one of the prettiest girls there, and I think she actually meant it.  Her compliment came as pretty high praise in that haughty crowd and eased the sense of inferiority I was fighting at the time.  Just incredibly sweet.

It was a whirlwind weekend and I didn't feel at all rested Monday morning, and all the food and drinks were too costly, but it was definitely all worth it for time with my amazing friends.  :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

VLOG: Electrolysis Update

Yes, one of my rare, and terribly boring vlogs.  If reading my nonsense in the previous post didn't put you to sleep, here's a brand new shot at Shandy Alexis dullness. :P

Pronoun Confusion and an Aside Regarding Bras.

I was in a computer lab trying to assist a teacher with the recovery of some missing writing assignments stuck out on the network somewhere.  One of the students began logging in, though it was pretty much a waste with the issues we had at the time.

So the teacher said, "Wait until he- Wait 'til ... is done working on them!"  I felt so sorry for her.  The rumors are out there, and my presentation is mostly in order, yet I'm still not officially out.  So awkward for everyone.  It was very considerate of her to try avoiding "he", I think.

This pushing the edge of androgyny grows more awkward by the day.  People who read my blog regularly are very familiar with my current mode of dress. Women's jeans, stretchy women's tops in gender neutral colors and necklines.  I wear my hair as curly and voluminous as I wish, and I don't shy away from makeup, though I try not to get to carried away.  Male elements?  Pretty much just the shoes, or if it is very cold I sometime's use a men's button up shirt as a cover up part of the day.  The shoes are a sort of odd hold out.  As long as people are calling me he and I can't correct them, it just feels odd wearing something that makes a blatant gender statement.  My clothes hint strongly at my gender, but by cut, shape and fit only.  Most of the shoes in my wardrobe go well beyond that.  It is the same for jewelry.  My ears need re-pierced now, but, I would gladly wear studs to work, while the styles I actually prefer, I would probably never consider until out.

That probably sounds like an awkward enough presentation as it is, with people widely regarding me as male, with no word from me to the contrary.  But the really odd part?  I almost never wear a bra.  There are two reasons.  The first is much like the shoes, earrings, or tops of gender specific style.  A bra generally can't be 100% hidden under the types of top I wear, and makes a very, very strong gender statement.  The, other thing is that everyone there has seen me completely flat chested for 8 years, and suddenly rocking up to work wearing a bra, people would probably think I was faking having breasts. For some reason the idea of someone thinking that irritates me to no end.  Being flat chested has always been a source of major embarrassment and insecurity for me.  Of course I'm still fairly flat chested, but I'm not totally flat chested.

So my solution has been to intentionally demonstrate for a time that I actually should be wearing a bra. It sounds pretty crazy I'm sure and a lot of my friends are puzzled by this strategy.  I suspect it is equally confusing for people at work.  Really I've probably already made my point, but that still leaves the first issue.  That I am not technically out.  I really doubt anyone is going to understand my logic on this one, but at least I tried.

Today I heard the word "boobs" in hushed tones twice as I entered classrooms, and lots of indecipherable murmurs as kids glanced/smirked/stared in my general direction.  The subject may not have been me, but the timing seems suspicious, and it happens often.  I'm feeling self conscious but if I can hold out until the start of Christmas break, it's all going to get easier as I can settle into a normal presentation.  If I can just pull this off a little longer without embarrassing myself it will all be fine.

Sometimes I wish I could move.  I never have to think about this stuff in Lexington, where people don't know my past.  This is just the most awkward place I could possibly be right now.  I'm so self conscious about being perceived as male and it leaves me completely insecure.  Worrying about the perception of everyone around me keeps me nervous and anxiety always runs high. There are a million instances that cause me no stress anywhere else in the world that leave me feeling inferior and ready to run away in this awkward in-between presentation, surrounded by people who have always perceived me as male.  I so wish I could explain it better.

Let the psych analysis begin...


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A Meeting...

This morning I went to work feeling great, for a Monday.  Fresh off of a weekend in Lexington visiting my friends and taking in some much needed electrolysis, with a solid eight hours of sleep I was feeling ready for a productive day.  Things started out very routine.  I walked down to the library to get the specifics on a work order and chatted with the librarian for a bit about everything from hair to migraines,  then returned to my desk to catch up on email.

The phone rang.  I picked it up to find my boss on the line and suddenly things felt a little less routine and I was anxious.  For the past few months I have felt out of the loop, and my boss never calls more than once per week.

After the briefest of hellos, he asked me to come down to the office.  My routine Monday skidded to a halt.  If he wanted to talk shop, he would do it over the phone, and for most types of meetings he would volunteer the specifics unprompted.  I wanted to ask what was up, but if he didn't want to discuss it over the phone there was no point pressing the issue.  I simply agreed.  Whatever was happening, it was transition related.  Was I being fired? Was someone complaining about my appearance? Was this going to be some sort of ultimatum?

I drove to the new technology office trying to remain calm.  My heart was racing though.  I was imagining more vividly than ever the choices I would have to make if I lost my job.  My worries only solidified as I climbed the stairs to the new technology office in a former grade school building where my boss and the other technician have set up shop, their desks facing each other from opposite ends of what was once a classroom.

The distance between me and these two men has always been there to some degree, especially in the last year.  But the new office is the premier sign of the near total communication break down that has come in the past months.  They set up the move in private, told me of it barely before they intended to start packing, and didn't include me in the discussion of what resources would stay and which would go. Besides that, I was never invited.  There were a few logical reasons for my remaining behind, but it was very clear to me at the time that I was not wanted here.

I opened the door without knocking and found my boss at his desk with the other tech standing alongside looking at the same screen.  The tech nodded in my direction and announced my arrival to my boss in a low tone.  I greeted them.  My supervisor answered but the other tech did not.  They continued their discussion then the tech left to work on something.

The conversation segued into things more directly effecting my work and eventually my boss mentioned that when things are slow at the high school I can help out in the main office with network administrative tasks.  Then he suggested meeting weekly so that we can all stay coordinated.  After  these thoughts were explored briefly he mentioned the main reason for the visit.  The Board's administrative staff was wanting to meet with me about my transition.  I told him any day would be fine, and that I would send out an email to the meeting participants explaining things so that they could decide on their questions.  He said they wanted to meet right away.

At this point my fear started to dissipate.  He went on to tell me that they just wanted to find out what was going on and see if they could assist in making my transition more comfortable basically.  I wasn't sure that was strictly all there was too it, but I felt ready emotionally, even if on a more concrete level I really had no idea what to say.  Except for the shoes, I looked pretty presentable and was feeling confident after a great weekend with supportive friends. I could do this.

I walked into  assistant superintendent's office and took a seat.  My boss and the federal programs director were to attend as well, but they weren't in the room yet.  The assistant super was very kind and conversational and we chatted about some issues he had setting up a new computer and peripherals for his Dad. He said he had thought about calling me for advice on it over the course of weekend.

Then my boss and the federal programs director arrived.  We all chatted for a few moments, no one seeming to know quite how to broach the topic at hand.  Eventually though the assistant super brought the meeting to order.  During a lull in the conversation he just said he had called me in because he wanted to talk to me about my transition, which has become common knowledge.  I smiled.  It has indeed become common knowledge, and I was feeling a little silly for handling my transition in such an unusual way that they were approaching me about this instead of the other way round.

I explained that by the end of winter break I intended to go full time, and to have everything handled regarding my name change.  I didn't really get into the details of what it means to be transgender, or a history of my transition to date.  There were questions about my eventual operation and how much down time would be involved.  They asked whether I am currently being harassed.  I explained that mostly co-workers have treated me professionally and that harassment from students has fallen off sharply, basically no longer posing a problem.

The bathroom issue came up.  I explained that I don't use student facilities for either gender currently and do not intend to in the future.  I told them I would be using single occupant staff restrooms only, not bothering to mention a gender.  They didn't ask for clarification, seeming mostly comfortable with that response.  My boss mentioned that in my stage of transition the restroom situation must be awkward for me.  I joked around about the men's room situations I've had, and everyone seemed to find it pretty humorous.  I explained that outside the county where no one knows my past, such situations aren't awkward at all, as I can go into a women's restroom anywhere without it troubling anyone.

The federal programs director asked me how much more I intend to change the way I dress.  I told her that generally I dress fairly casual and wear jeans and such at work because I never know which days will be desk work and when I could suddenly need to climb into a ceiling and run wires instead.  I went on to say that on days that I wish to do something more dressy I will, within the limits of the dress code everyone else follows.  We moved on to the next topic.

In the end they asked why I expected some degree of backlash once I went official, since there was really very little further presentation change on the way.  I explained that by the time I went to the courthouse and requested a name change, finished taking the masculine elements out of my wardrobe and started requesting that people start using the right pronouns, that it probably would generate some interest.

They asked if there was anything they could do to make things easier.  Continued employment and a cooperative attitude is plenty.  I told them that I love my job and that being able to be myself without it interfering with my work was all I wanted.

As I said it I cried.  The tears were almost brimming over.  I'm glad I managed to keep them back because my mascara doesn't even border on water proof.  There seemed to be a bit of an emotional response from almost everyone at this point.

The assistant super adjourned the meeting and the federal programs director gave me a hug and said she would help me anyway she can.   I like everyone present at this meeting, but I also know things in this system tend to move with political undercurrents working below the surface and the ripples on top don't always truly imply what they immediately suggest.  After the meeting adjourned no one left immediately except me.

I am very happy that they took the initiative and opened a dialog with me.  I have been meaning to open communication for a few weeks now but have fallen behind on my timeline.  Now I am suddenly back on schedule despite my inaction.  I still need to decide how to make the staff in the district aware of the situation so that they know what is happening and how to address me.  Should I handle it myself, or should I discuss it with central office now so that they can be prepared to send out something more official in my support, if they are willing?

Off hand I am think I would rather just send my own message to everyone and then deal with breaches in etiquette casually as they arise.  To this point things have been slow and subtle, and I've counted on kindness and respect instead of trying to twist arms.  It has worked and most people have responded well to me. Changing track now and insisting that the board require people to address me properly seems unnecessary.

However that pans out I'm so excited.  No matter how things play out this is a huge step. :)