Kip doesn’t mind the rain when he’s having fun!
Yay! You made me coffee! How long do we have to wait for it in the French press?
Aww, I’m pretty sad that our adventure is over. Let me sit here and enjoy the sun a bit.
I’m not sure if koalas can swim. Better play it safe.
Say goodbye to the lake!
I think I’ve thought of a good, tangible goal I’d like to work towards over the next year or two. My current car will likely be due for an upgrade and I’d like to take into consideration this time that I’d like a car that can tow something. My Subaru has a CVT transmission which isn’t good at delivering torque, which makes towing difficult. Subaru claims you can tow up to 1000LBS but there’s very little information on setting up a tow hitch on my particular model. So I suspect Subaru is not so subtly telling you not to tow anything. I’d rather just avoid it. My next car will almost definitely be a manual anyway. I’ve become comfortable with it, and I find that it’s preferable to my driving style than most automatics.
My goal is to finally travel to see places I want to, and I think I’d be more inclined to do that if I had a teardrop trailer. I could make trips super flexible and finally see the places where trains or planes don’t really go–the places I want to see. I looked into teardrop trailers once before and found they were surprisingly more expensive than I had thought. But over the last several years, I’ve really proved to myself that I can set a savings goal and meet it (mostly thanks to automatic bank transfers).
This is just a quick post so that I can have a record of myself setting this goal. Because it really makes sense to me, and it really seems attainable. Unlike so many of my other ideas I come up with. I need a better way to get away from my day to day, and being able to camp out in a nice cozy teardrop would really make me feel more comfortable with traveling.
Anyway, that’s my goal 🙂
I tend to consider myself to be a fairly empathetic person. In fact, it’s something upon which I pride myself. I’m probably pretty unremarkable generally speaking, but being able to see things from the perspective of others, trying to understand and respect how they feel (even if it’s not how I’d feel) is an important skill to me. Being empathetic is practically a given in my little world, so when I feel like others are failing to see my point of view, or are unable to truly empathize with me, it hurts.
You’d have to dig a ways back. Back to before I had the self-awareness that I do today. Buried in the shadowy archives are posts about a young man who had never had sex with anyone. Never kissed anyone. Never been in a relationship with anyone and only dated on the most minimal of levels. That young man has changed a lot since then. He stopped lying and hiding and allowed himself to be a more authentic person. He pulled the mask away to reveal the her underneath. The her that had always been there, hiding.
Even though I am her, and I’ve changed enormously over the past 10+ months, I’ve still never had sex with anyone, never kissed anyone, never been in a relationship with anyone and only dated on the most minimal of levels. I might be more confident in self now, but I’m still the same basic person.
It’s hard to convey the feeling of being in this position. On the verge of my 28th birthday, a professional neophyte in the experience of romance and love. On the best days, it’s a dull hurt that can be masked with a smile and a funny story shared with coworkers. On the worst days it’s tears that won’t even be dissuaded by “please don’t cry and mess me up!”-mascara.
It’s almost not even worth discussing with people. I’ve met precious few who’ve been able to even understand, much less empathize, with how I feel. At best they offer platitudes of “you’ll find someone someday” or “everyone finds someone.” These words are too often spoken from a relative position of incredible (and I apologize for using this word) privilege. The privilege of being wanted by someone, either at present or at times in the past. Trust me, as someone who’s never known what that’s like, it’s absolutely a privilege.
There are of course some people who themselves were late, late, late to the game, but eventually arrived. I’ll never understand why those people aren’t more empathetic themselves. It’s as though once they arrive, they’re struck with amnesia about what it was like before then. This lack of empathy is particularly painful. These are people who could truly make a difference for someone. They could reach a hand back and let someone know that they’re not defective, they’re not unwanted, they’re not unlovable.
To be honest, I’m not sure I’ll ever find someone. It’s difficult to make peace with that, but it’s something I have to do. I have to redouble my efforts at pulling away all the masks I’ve worn. I have to make sure that I’m never again living an inauthentic life. I have to show myself that I care enough to take a shot. Take a shot on at least being the authentic me. I may always be alone. I may always have to struggle with feelings of being unwanted, being defective, being unlovable, being undatable, being in a dwindling percentage of the population. I may have to deal with all of those things, but I owe it to myself to at least do it as the real me. Ultimately that’s the only thing I can do. The pain of everything else will hopefully dull with time, but if I can be myself, I think it’ll be at least ok.
You know, it’s in that place I put that thing that time?
I want to make sure I don’t neglect this blog too much. If I do it’ll just mean more 2-3000 word posts. It’s a blog, Hadley, not a novel. When I looked at the last post I made it was January 8th. Ok, there was also one I made in February, but I ended up password protecting that one. It came out too personal.
That’s too bad, because I’m sure February 16th is a day I won’t want to forget. Things have tended to move a lot faster for me than I thought I’d be comfortable with, but I’m actually ok with that. Actually, the 16th was kind of the end of it. The first stab happened on the 8th. I started going into work as my complete self.
At the beginning of February I talked to my boss (whom I had clued into my situation on December 31st) about feeling stifled and how I wanted to start expanding the world I was living in beyond my apartment walls. Of course there wasn’t going to be any problem, but it was really important to me not to shock anyone. A “what the fuck?!” response is justified in my opinion if you just drop something like this out of nowhere. We worked in a separate part of the building, with a separate entrance, and on some days, I wouldn’t even need to see anyone else in the company face to face. So for a few days, that’s what I did. Coming into work with my scant wardrobe. After all, it was impossible to justify buying any more clothes if I couldn’t wear them outside my apartment.
On February 12th I was going to be making a scheduled visit to one of our remote locations for tech work. I scheduled it around my 6-month followup at the gender clinic because they’re both in the same city. It was important to me to show up at that appointment as myself. I’d always done as much as I could in the past, but I’d been wearing my new outfits for a week or so, I was comfortable enough and getting better all the time. I decided, the hell with it, they’ve got to know sooner or later. I’ll go to my appointment, and straight to work after. No awkward changing in the car (I’m so done with that). So in advance of my visit, I sent them an email explaining the situation. My first email about this to anyone. I had literally only told my boss up to that point.
After that email, the dominos really started to fall. I had a chat with that location’s manager about my visit, which he assured me would be fine (it was). It wasn’t long before I was running into other people in the home office face to face. I was split between saying something and just not drawing attention to it. But my boss did mention that one sales guy had seen me and was unsure what was up, so I decided that even if it wasn’t really necessary to send out a formal email to the company, I owed it to my coworkers to just blanket everyone with the same message.
I sent that email on February 16th with shockingly little consternation or fanfare on my part. I had spent several hours drafting it at home the night before. The subject was “you look different…” Heh, boy do I.
Most people in the company had already seen me, but the email served as a single blanket declaration from me about what was going on. I also very nervously took the plunge and used it as an opportunity to ask to be called “Hadley” and she/her pronouns. After all, no sense in going through all this fuss if I was going to have to send another email about my name later. I was scared about that because I was worried it wouldn’t feel right. I was worried it would be putting others out. I was worried people would hate me for asking that of them. I was worried it would make me feel awkward and I’d never get used to it.
To all those worries I now say: HA! Yes, it was a little awkward at first, but I think it’s just a muscle memory thing. You get so used to being called ____ that you just instinctively respond to it. I can happily report that as of now, I actually feel far more disingenuous and weird being referred to by my old name and “he”.
The response from people was incredibly heartening. Thankfully I work at a place that’s really cool and the people are really cool too. Obviously that doesn’t make everything any less scary, but it does mean that the real risks were probably a lot less.
So where does that put me now. Well unfortunately, about a month after I started going into work as myself. My boss informed me he was going to be leaving the company at the end of May. This was absolutely devastating to hear. He’s been a great friend to me. Not just in my fledgling steps of transitioning at work, but in general. I explained how important it is for me to keep transitioning and I talked with the HR manager about my concerns especially if we bring in someone new.
Even more different still, it’s pretty much a done deal that I’m going to be taking over my boss’s position. So I’ll be the new boss. Everyone else is confident in me, but I’m still very worried. I’ve never done anything like this before (both transitioning and being the boss).
We actually did bring in a new person for a different position in the company. I tend to work closely with that department, so I considered this new person a dry run. It actually went pretty well. As a few others have pointed out, this new person never met the original me. She doesn’t have to fight against a memory of who I was. Fortunately she’s been not only super cool, but when she calls me “Hadley” or “she” it feels so natural. I expect with others it’ll get there as well, but it just takes longer.
Everything else? I’m still getting there. This whole process is incredibly emotionally taxing, and I’m not even playing it on difficult mode. I don’t have many real life friends. I don’t have any relationship (or even prospect of one). I suppose I’m still just chugging along the best I can and hopefully the more time I keep at it the better.
I actually feel kind of bad that I’ve relied so much on reading about other people’s transition experiences. Watched their first hand video accounts, listened to their stories. I feel bad that I’ve not contributed much or even anything for others. Paying it forward so to speak. Until now I’d been way to nervous, especially in any way that put me on the spot personally.
Otherwise, things continue forward despite fears and hesitations. I’m trying to get excited for summer and summer clothes. I’m still working on being happier by myself. I’m still living through life.