Blog, Sweet Blog

It’s an update!

Posted on: Friday, April 10, 2009

Mood: Soooo good
Music: The Style Council-The Lodgers    (that’s right, what of it?)

Oh Fridays…I sure do love you.  You never have a lot of work for me, people seem nicer, and no one seems to be in much of a hurry.

So, I thought I’d catch y’all up on recent events in my life.  I hate to have this blog be so one-dimensional, but transition is like the biggest thing in my life right now.  I’ve been trying to keep it lively (remember that hilarious animal post yesterday?), but the occasional trans-post is going to get in there.  Sorry if it’s boring to you.

Ok, so last time, I was debating about whether to tell my boss or not and HR had not gotten back to me.  Well, that next Monday, HR guy called me and let me know he had rec’d my packet and needed some time to go through it.  In the cover letter to him, I had suggested maybe we should meet up as our next step.  He told me that he didn’t think he needed to meet with me just yet.  He said he would call me back in a day or two.  So that was nice, and he was very nice about everything.  I’m not sure if I explained this, but our HR person is actually from another organization and, because we’re so small, we contract with them for HR and other administrative things.  I’ve met him, but it’s not like we ever see each other or know each other.  While this is happening, my boss sets my review time for 1:30 on Wednesday.  The next day, the HR guy starts sending me all of these links and information via email.  I understand he was just trying to be sweet and supportive, but some of the information he sent me was of questionable value.

Him:  Do you know we have a diversity council on campus?

Me:    Oh right, I think I saw a poster in the cafeteria.

Him:  Oh that right! That’s a wonderful poster…so colorful.  You know, you can call them if you want.

Me:  Ok…

I didn’t call (it’s not like I need their advice on how to come out and I hardly ever feel like “celebrating diversity”), but I always thank him profusely for whatever nugget he sends me.  Finally, he tells me that there is another trans woman on campus (gasp) and that she would be willing to talk to me if I’d like.  The place I work is weird.  It’s very academic, in a way, and people always seem to be hyper-focused on their work.  Given the distribution of GLBT people in the general population, I had assumed there was at least one L, G, B, or T person on campus.  But I’d never met one and no one seemed to be flying their flag, so to speak.  So, the news that there was another T person on campus was kind of shocking.  Amway, he told me the woman’s name and said it would be alright if I contacted her.  Ok, I’m not sure how many people work here…but it’s in the thousands and we don’t really have a campus directory.  I wrote back and asked HR where she worked or if there was, you know, a way to contact her.  He sent me her extension!  Again, maybe it’s me or it’s a generational thing, but I’d rather not just call someone out of the blue.  I did some searching and found out her division and emial address.  I crafted the most vague, innocuous letter i could manage and sent it off…

Hi redacted,

I hope I have the right person 🙂 I got your name from redacted at redacted HR. He said you might be able to (or know someone who could ) help me out with a work transition I’m planning in the next month or so. If you’re the right person and you have some time this week, please let me know and we can set something up.

Regards,

redacted

I know, smooth right?  She sent me a reply and told me she was the one I was looking for.  We traded emails for a bit (she came out here at work about ten years ago and didn’t get fired, lives with a trans partner, etc.).  At one point, I told her I had a bunch of questions and she asked about them.  I sent her a final email with all of my questions…

Hey redacted,

Ugh, I just told my boss.  It went really well, but I kind of feel like throwing up.  Wow, 10 years ago…it seems like a lot has changed since then.  Do you think things have gotten any easier for trans people since then?  Awww, that’s so cool that you and your partner have been together for so long.  How did you meet?

Ok, so I have a lot of questions.  You don’t have to answer them in a big long email today…or answer them at all really.  I’m mostly interested in hearing about your experience and how you handled things at some point.  Yes, lunch sometime would be nice.  The only really good Mexican place I know of is redacted.

So, it seems like you transitioned while at work here.  How was that?  What process did you go through or what was the sequence of events?  Did you stay in the same job and department?  Did you have any negative experiences?  In retrospect, would you have handled anything a different way?  How far along were you with HRT and electrolysis before transitioning at work?  How long did it take before your transition was not a big deal (if it ever was) any more?  What was the hardest thing to deal with those first few weeks?  Do you have any advice?  Is there anything I should watch out for?  How did you handle transition with your health insurance?  Would you say you’re more of a cat person or a dog person?  Ok, kidding.

Regards,

Anna

I know, cute right?  So I sent her that letter on March 24 and haven’t heard back from her sincewtf?  Ugh, seriously, that’s one of my biggest pet peeves…not answering a letter.  I kind of understand it though.  I guess this happens with LGB people too, but it seems like people are always wanting to hook us up.  And with trans people it harder…notice I just dove right into the personal questions?  That’s how we roll.  There’s very little, “Hi, how are you?  What’s your favorite color?”.  It’s mostly, “Hi, what sort of meds are you on?  Have you had surgery yet?  Tell me all about your horrible childhood”.  So, idk, maybe my letter got lost or she’s on a months-long cruise.  Whatevs, I’m not going to bother her.

So, I kind of gave away what happened next.  I CAME OUT TO MY BOSS!!!!!!!! Back up a little bit though.  Before my review meeting, I had asked HR if he had any advice on when I should tell my boss.  I was, you know, hoping for some of that pro HR advice…like something from a manual or something.  His answer was to tell my boss “whenever I felt comfortable.”  Thanks HR!  So I decided I’d prolly tell him at the end of the meeting if everything had gone well up until then.  So we’re going through my review and I’m totally freaking out and nervous.  My boss gave me a great review and the only negative-ish comment he had was that I need to start doing presentations and writing papers.  Which is totally valid.  I have specifically cloistered my self away for the last six months because…well, you know…I was scared, didn’t want people to know the old me very well, wanted to start making a name for myself using my new name, etc.   At the end of the meeting…

him:  is there anything else?

me: *visibly shaking*  Yes actually.  *hands him the packet*  So, I’m a transsexual and I’ve been working with HR to come up with a plan to…*simultaneously faints and      vomits*

Ok, jk, but I had a really hard time getting all of it out.  He was so cool and nice though!  He was smiling a bit as he asked me some questions.  He wanted to know why I had picked here and now to do this.  Which was a great question.  I thought about it for a second and told him that going through this is not easy.  You need to have a lot of money, feel mentally and emotionally ready, and feel like you have a good support system in place.  I told him that I really liked it here and I felt like it was home.  So I felt safe enough to go through this all with these people.  I also said that a lot of trans people get fired when they come out.  He told me that I didn’t have to worry about my job (awww, I wanted to cry when he said that).

The truth is, I prolly could have done this sooner (and I could have waited longer), but I do love it here.  This place does feel like home and these people do feel like my family.  Plus, they’re giving me enough money to accomplish my goals.  And, I am ready.  I think I’ve done the work and this feels like a good time.  So yeah, after I told him, I just wanted to either die or run from his office.  Before the end of it though, he sent HR an email requesting a meeting.  That meeting is this Monday!  I’m not sure what to expect, but I really think it will be a straightforward discussion of how I should start back to work as Anna.  At one point, the HR guy said there isn’t any legal problem with what I want to do and it’s just a matter of arranging everything.  Which is weird.  I had anticipated more problems, but I’ll take easy.  In the packet, I told them I thought starting back to work on the first Monday of May would be good.  I thought I’d take off a day or two before the weekend for paperwork and more shopping and they could use that time to tell everyone and get ready.  So, barring any last minute weirdness, May 4th should be my first day back!  I really can’t believe it’s almost here.

Finally, regarding my name change, I went to court (ulp, that’s a whole other post), paid my fees, and got the notice published.  So now, all I have to do is take back the proof of publication and pick up the final decree.  So, basically, my name change is done and I’m Anna Elizabeth redacted (lol) from now on.  I was looking at my paperwork last night, and it finally hit me that I have to start using that name now and that this is all for real and I hope to God that it works out. I’m happy about how everything is going, but I’m also nervous and still holding my breath.  There’s not really any going back now…and that’s ok.

Wow, longest post ever?

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7 Responses to "It’s an update!"

E-mail can get cumbersome, and people’s lives get busy. Your contact might be blowing you off, she might just be immersed in her own life right now. But you can find people to help you, in the big wild west of the Internet, I am sure… I will share what I can. You were fortunate to have at least one local work contact to give you a sense of “This can be done,” I had to go it alone here and many others do too.

Re: Puking.
Yeah. get used to that. 😉
Honestly, though, your stomach is an idiot, the reality is going to be far better than your nerves as long as you stay calm and brave and casual. People respect ease and quiet confidence, they are looking to you for their cues. so keep pretending to be fine even when you want to chuck on the guy and run, lol.

We’ll share more in e-mail.

Meanwhile, here is something for you:

What Jenny Boylan told me when I first joined her site and started posting with some of my worries about the impending full-time date only two months away:

“You have a sense of humor,” she said. “You’ll be fine.”

She passed that to me; I in turn am passing it to you, since I think it applies. You’ll do good. Just keep your head about you. *hug*

Ja, I’m pretty sure she’s blowing me off, but it’s not a big deal. I’m not sure how excited I’d be to rehash a bunch of old history for a random trans person. Then again, maybe she working on a book about her experience and she’s going to send me a signed 1st edition! Yeah totally, just knowing that someone else made it work here is very comforting.

Oh, thanks for the heads up about the vomit and the nausea…I can’t wait! You’re right, that’s the cruel irony about “passing.” The better you feel about yourself and more positive you are, the better people respond to you. I guess I need to find a way to fake it for a while on those days when I’m feeling not so fresh.

What is this thing you call humor?

Hi Anna, thanks for letting me know about your blog – you sent the link while I was on holiday so I’ve just read it all in one go after getting back. Either that or I casually ignored your email for several days because I’m too busy and important to be bothered with your funny little scribblings. I forget, but it was one or the other, definitely. Wait, what’s that metaphorical pool of blood down there – oh hey there new gaping emotional wounds that can only be inflicted by quality family time. Looks like I must’ve been on holiday after all. I guess I’ve repressed the memories already. Way to go, survival skills!!

OK I’m done being hilariously self-involved and arrogant. This was a great read. It seems like you’re going to have absolutely no problems transitioning at work which is such a HUGE bonus – with a secure income and a daily routine you can cling to if everything else falls apart you can tackle anything. I’m so excited for you!! In fact it’s time to squeal like a giddy Gerty – SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!! 😀

Who knows why that other woman stopped writing but whatever the reason you didn’t do anything wrong, so don’t worry about it. She probably just wrote an incredibly detailed and personal reply and then accidentally sent it to her workgroup instead of you. Now she resents you for destroying her life and is bitterly plotting your untimely demise. And now you’re all like “Ugh, AGAIN?” right? I know, happens to me every other Tuesday. Luckily as you’ve found out, changing identities is a piece of cake so disappearing into the ether should be no problem. Today a hilarious transsexual engineer, tomorrow a listless albino drifter, or perhaps a mexican yoga guru. Who knows what adventure awaits?

Sorry. I might possibly be in a silly mood.

STOP CYBER-STALKING ME YOU QANTAS-FLYING, KOALA-PETTING, KIWI-ADJACENT, SUPER GOOD LOOKING AUSSIE!!! Yeah right Jamie, in that email I actually “invited” you to stay awayfrom my site not follow me from YouTube.

JK! It’s lovely as always to hear from you my dear Jamie. To me, your blog posts and comments are like the finest scented candles, the most delicate chocolate soufflé, and Mothorhead (circa 1985) playing “Ace of Spades” and “Bomber” in my office, whenever I want. So, judging from your recent posts, it seems like things are going pretty well for you and that makes me the happy. Eesh, a holiday with parents? That sounds…pleasant? How is the rest? Are you now totally slim, yet ripped, in love, and racking up all the high scores on all your favorite games? I hope so 🙂

Yes, work has been oddly easy. I don’t think there will be any major problems with my coworkers, but it helps a lot that my boss, our director, and HR are behind me. I’ll post it when I know fo sho, but it seems like my first day back will be May 6th. So yeah, SQUEEEE!

Re: the woman with the email…that’s funny. Then again, I can cross #132 (Destroy a Random Tarns Person’s Life) off of my list. 186 more to go and I can call it a life. And Mexican yoga guru resonates with me very strongly…you know me too well.

Ugh, speaking of…still need to post some sort of video again…or watch a video for that matter. I have the guilt, but I’ve been kind of busy trying to get ready for, you know, like the most important event in my whole entire life. So back off alright? I feel the bad, but the people I really care about know what’s going on in my life, so whatevs.

6th of May is only 3 weeks away – JUST 3 WEEKS. You have 3 weeks left of being able to get away with guy things at work like picking your ear with a pen or punctuating a funny joke with a fart and claiming it was on purpose. Live it up sweetheart, live it up. I’d expect a video about going full time (YOU’RE GOING FULL-TIME!) at the very least so you better start scripting that and setting up the lighting.

I am so slim and ripped that Calvin Klein wants to pay me to stop walking by their billboards and making their models look bad, by which I mean I haven’t run in a few weeks due to a mysterious lethargy and am developing a nice healthy layer of blubber for the winter. At least it softens my features, so you could argue that I am actually getting fat on purpose for aesthetic reasons. Let’s go with that.

Apart from that, idk? I have dinner on Friday with my ex, which he organized, so that’s nice. I’ve got a laser consult tomorrow, which I’m looking forward to, and I have not played videogames for a few weeks but intend to do nothing else this weekend. I may not even get out of my pajamas. I live a life of wild abandon and careless recklessness matched only by my… oh just finish the sentence yourself I ran out of steam half way through.

I know, right? Not that I had horrible manners in the first place, but I’ve been conscious of this for months now. I don’t want to be remembered as, “the one with the unfortunate flatulence” (though when is gas fortunate or appropriate, really?). Or, “the one that always wore that t-shirt and hardly ever bathed.” Yes, these are all serious problems, but I think I’ve got them under control…now if I could just stop making penis and fart jokes 🙂

Well, it’s 20 days now!!! I put one of those stupid counter things on my page yesterday to tick off the days until my terrible freedom arrives. Yes, I will make a video right before the big day (or sooner). I’m opting for natural lighting this time and I have been training the cat for months on the basics of cinematography. She’s…coming along, but I fear I may have been overly optimistic with my expectations. We’ll see how she does on the day.

I’m sure Mr. Klein has grave reservations about having you walk around out there with one of his contracts. Deal with that as best you can. I think a little bit of fat on you would be a good thing, so just go with it. Yes, please share whatever you can about your dinner with your ex. I did the same a few months ago and it was equal parts awful and wonderful.

“I live a life of wild abandon and careless recklessness matched only by my…” …incomprehensibly simultaneous love for and hatred of philately.

[…] an event.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget the megaWatts of energy expended in sweating worry, HR meetings, legal wrasslin’, and amazing letter writing before the big day, but it was all […]

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an introduction





Hi, I'm Anna and I love cheese!

This blog is a chronicle of my life and a catalog of happy ephemera. The About page has a little bit more information, but, remember, none of this is really me...it's just a supplement, a thumbnail sketch, a mostly anonymous Intarwebs placeholder. I'm way better/less wordy in person. :-)

Oh, and if I wrote something about you and you thought it was mean or hurtful, I'm sorry. It's how I felt at the time, but probably isn't how I feel now. Chances are, I love you and I think you're awesome.

copyright

All content on Blog, Sweet Blog is copyrighted by me, Anna Hell. Unless otherwise noted, all photos, words, and content on this site are mine, created by me, and should not be used without my permission (or at least attributed and linked back). I try to embed links or quote original source material if I use another person's work.

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