The Last Coming Out, and Moving Forward
Wednesday is a big day for me. I am sitting here during the 6AM hour of Monday morning thinking about it. This is going to be a blog post about Wednesday, I am going to schedule it to post to the site on Wednesday, but I am actually going to be writing it during Monday. Here is the reason why Wednesday is a big day for me (from the transition timeline):
Jan 28: Make full and final announcement coming out at work. (Moved up from March)
Today is the day everyone I work with will know that I am a transgender person. Keep in mind I still present as a man. My mind is still spending a great deal of time in boy-mode. I still wear male clothing. My hair has grown out yes, but not outside the range of a normal man. Essentially, I am still a man on the outside, in every way. I wear a Pandora bracelet, I have earrings, but those are easy enough not to notice. Why tell everyone now? Why would I want to surprise them later? My logic is that they should know sooner rather than later.
Here is the oddest thing about the situation. I am not going to be ‘coming out’ I am going to be ‘outed.’ I have agreed to this, and I still think it is the right thing to do, but it is very uncomfortable. As of today (Monday), only five people know. My four direct co-workers on grave shift and my manager. At the end of the day on Wednesday, at least sixteen more people will know that I am transgender. I have no idea how many other people in the building will hear though the grapevine. It does not sound like a big number, but that is sixteen reactions to the news. That is sixteen new sets of questions. Sixteen people potentially went from liking me to disliking me in a split second. Those sixteen people potentially think I am some kind of freak. Honestly, I would not care if these people were friends or family. I can choose my friends; I can stop interacting with parts of my family if I need to. However, you do not choose who you work with. I am stuck with these sixteen people and their reactions.
Here is a timeline for the day. All times are CENTRAL time:
- 12:00a – 6:00a: At work during my Tuesday workday with half my Grave Shift coworkers (3 of us total) At this point, nobody knows other than the people I have told.
- 6:00a – 8:00a: Overlap with everyone from day shift. (10 new coworkers) The first people that do not know come into the building and I have to not tell them anything or hint that they are going to learn something about me.
- 8:00a – 8:30a: This blog posts goes live, and my commute home.
- 8:30a – 10:00a: Try to wind down for bed.
- 10:00a: Jo goes to sleep
- 3:00p: Swing Shift (6 coworkers) enter building and join Day Shift
- 3:15p – 4:15p: Weekly team meeting where one of the topics will be me, and my situation.
- 5:00p: Day Shift leaves building, the only people left in the building is swing (6 coworkers.)
- 6:00p – 8:30p: Jo wakes up and gets ready for, but dreads going to work…
- 8:30p – 9:00p: Commute to work
- 9:00p – 12:00a: Arrive at work with all of Grave Shift (5 of us total) and overlap with all of the people from Swing Shift (6 people) Gauge reaction of these six people and answer questions that might be answerable. The good news is that since it is still Wednesday everyone assigned to Swing Shift will be there. (Remember I already told Grave myself)
- THURSDAY 12:00a – 6:00a: At work during my Wednesday work day just all of Grave Shift and I. A moment to prepare
- 6:00a – 8:00a Overlap with a little more than half of Day Shift (7 people) This is the first time I will see them since they were told. For them, it will be the next day, but for me it will not. However, since it is now Thursday only half of Day Shift will be present. I will not see the other half until a week later, Wednesday Morning the next week.
- 8:00a – Go home after what I expect to be a very, very, long day… and sleep.
It is a very awkward situation. However, I think it is for the best. In some ways, I do not want to call a separate meeting for this. That draws more attention to it. I do not want to have two meetings (one for Swing and one for Day.) That would be too much repetition. I really do not want to tell each person myself… I would rather everyone be told in a meeting setting. Moreover, I think it is good that I am not in that meeting. However, if questions are not answered properly or with the proper level of delicateness there could be problems. I do not think my manager knows enough about being transgender or transgender issues to answer any of those questions… I am happy to answer those kind of questions, but it would have to be just randomly throughout the day, which is going to be somewhat awkward in and of itself. However, I do like this is happening before hormones or before the transition is obvious. It will minimize the questions during transition, which is going to be a big deal for me. I am going to be self-conscious enough as it is.
There are other problems with being outed as opposed to coming out. Even after giving permission to do it, it is still extremely awkward. I do not know what he is going to say exactly. I do not know which words he is going to use to say it. In addition, words make a big deal. There is a big difference between, “Jo is a transgender person and will be beginning a physical transition to the other gender soon” and “Jo is a man right now but will be becoming a woman.” Those two sentences are likely to create very different reactions. I do not know what kind of voice inflections he is going to use. Is he going to sound aggravated by it? Is he going to sound uneasy about it? I do not know what kind of body language he is going to use. Is it going to be dismissive? Is it going to be laden with anger? Is he going to talk about how my personality will not change? Is he going to talk about how I like the same jokes? How I am fundamentally the same person? Is he going to say that I was always the woman underneath I am just going to start letting it show? On the other hand, is he going to make it sound like I am becoming a completely new person? In this situation, as with many delicate situations… Word Choice Matters.
SO yeah, I am anxious. Moreover, it’s only Monday… I have to wait all though the rest of Monday, though all of Tuesday and then until 9PM on Wednesday before I know anything.
Why did I not post this on Monday? If I posted earlier I could have receive support from my support network. Simple answer: No amount of support will answer these questions. The more I talk or think about it the more anxious I will be. I will not be at relief until time prevails to answer these questions.
In that case, why did you write and post this at all? Again Simple answer: The goal of this blog is very simple. I want to increase transgender awareness. I want to give an example of the kind of things we have to go through that other people may not be aware of.
In that case, why not let the feeling numb down and post this over the weekend? I want this blog to be as “live” as possible. As I feel things, I want to share them with you. In addition, I wanted, you, the readers, to feel the feelings I was feeling, as I was feeling them. If you are reading this on Wednesday, you will read what I feel when I feel it. Additional anxiety loaded on top of the normal anxiety of work is going to be a very large day of anxiety and stress. I think the easiest way to experience that, other than go though it yourself, is to read a story of it happening in the middle of your workweek as well.
Many transgender people have to deal with a life where they can be their preferred gender at home or out with friends but need to be their assigned gender in the work place or at school. Transgender people refer to this as going “part-time.” For me this will now never occur. Since after Wednesday I will be out to everyone in my daily life I will be able to transition live, in front of everyone. I will make mistakes sure, bad makeup one day, horrible hair the next… However, I will never, ever, have to go to work in boy-mode after living the weekend, or the time at home, in girl-mode. To an extent, the hardest part of transition is coming out to everyone. I will sit here Wednesday night and say, “That race is already run.”
I am hoping to be starting hormones within the next month or month and a half. That is when I am hoping the mental transition will begin to be more consistent. I am spending most of the time in my mind still in boy-mode. Especially at work, boy-mode is still my default. It is not where my mind belongs. Each moment makes me feel more and more uncomfortable. The mental transition for me has been so difficult. I have repressed her for so long and now that I know she is there, he will not give up. The hardest fight of the near future is within my own mind. I think fixing the hormonal balance and finally coming out everywhere will help me empower Jo a little bit more. The future brings anxiety, but it also brings hope. I am happy to be done on Wednesday… I will be free. There will be no more reason to hold on to boy-mode. Everyone knows so it makes me free to think and express things in the way I wish, at any time.
I have been getting kind of demoralized and depressed lately because I have been spending so much time in boy-most still. I have been trying to put this in context. I still have the wrong hormone balance. I still am not out to everyone and I have twenty some years of defaulting to boy-mode… She is trying to walk in to the room. He is not giving up easily… Everyone will know the truth, but he will not leave. I am going to be out to everyone. Everyone will know I am a girl inside. This should be a day to celebrate, no matter what. However, I am still down. This is the end of the race of coming out, however there is a longer path ahead of me. Transition is going to be tough, mentally, emotionally and physically. The relief of the fact that I am going to be out to everyone should be euphoric, and to an extent, it is… but the road ahead overshadows that. As of today, I have one less excuse to be okay with boy-mode still being here.
I can’t say I’m up when I’m down. These days it’s all in the mind…
What happened? Find out HERE!