Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Word Vomit - Halloween, Vacation, Work, and Family

"You can try the best you can,
If you try the best you can,
The best you can is good enough."
  -- Radiohead, Optimistic

I'm long overdue for an update. Most of my friends already know the below, and it's pretty rambly, but I still feel like it's good to get down, if nothing else, for completeness sake. I'll try to rush through most of it, and I'll try to post more often in the future, instead of saving up for massive posts. =)

A couple of entries ago, I mentioned coming out to more people. Since then, I realized that there were still a lot of people that I have to tell personally before I'd feel ok just posting it on Facebook though, like the rest of Erin's family, the rest of my family, and work.

So, a while back we told Erin's mom and stepdad. They took it pretty well, though I still don't think they quite understand what it means to me and Erin. Erin's mom told her parents, and Erin's oldest brother, so now everybody knows except her dad's side of the family. We aren't sure how Erin's dad will react, so we don't plan on telling him soon, which is depressing, but he lives up in Ogden, so I guess it's not too big of a deal for now.

For Halloween I dressed girly (a denim skirt and v-cut shirts), wore kitty ears, a tail, collar, and used eyeliner to paint whiskers on my cheeks. It's similar to what I did last year, but this year I looked quite a bit cuter, which is encouraging. It's so much easier to dress on Halloween, because if I don't pass, people just think I have a really good costume. I ended up going to a small-ish party, and meeting some very sweet and talkative people. Some of the conversations just made me feel like 'one of the girls', which was pretty new to me, and pretty amazing.

After the breakdown I mentioned in my last post, I also decided that I needed to do something about work, though I wasn't sure what. I met with someone in the HR department to explain my situation: that I'm not ready to transition at work, but that I want to stop worrying about who knows. She suggested that we just set up a time where I can tell everyone in a meeting, which was so simple, yet profound. Unfortunately that was right before Erin and I went on vacation, and I spent the first half of our trip being nervous about the various meetings between HR and my management that were taking place.

Our vacation was a lot of fun. Erin's brother lives near San Francisco, so we drove there, stayed with him for a couple of days, and saw the sights. Next, we drove down to LA, stopping at Erin's grandparents' for dinner on the way. We stayed in a hotel right outside of Disneyland, and played around in the parks for a couple of days. On the third day, we were supposed to drive down to San Diego, but I got pretty sick, so we just moved on to Las Vegas instead. Erin drove to Vegas, even though she hates driving, so that I could get some much needed sleep on the way.

The next day, I was feeling mostly better, so Erin and I trekked on foot down The Strip to Sephora (a makeup store). After that, we watched the Tournament of Kings, which is a medieval themed dinner and jousting show. It was pretty good, though the food was bland, and they kept trying to get more money out of us for souvenirs. Erin was exhausted, so she headed up to the room while I went across the street to lose $40 playing Blackjack at the Tropicana.

The best part about Vegas was that three different people referred to me as female in one day, even though I was in jeans and a t-shirt, with just a touch of eyeliner for makeup:
  1. While we were walking down The Strip, holding hands, a woman tried to usher us into a casino with a "Ladies! Ladies! Welcome to Harrah's!"
  2. At the Tournament, our server kept switching between calling us "Ladies" or "Princesses".
  3. And while I was playing Blackjack, the dealer kept using "she" when talking to other people about how crappy my cards were.
Either I passed as a trans woman, or I passed as a woman. Either way, I was giddy and giggly about it for the whole next day, and I probably annoyed the crap out of Erin. =)

Work again:
On my first day back to work, I had a meeting with my boss's boss (Manager), his boss (Director), and the HR person. Apparently management was completely ready for me to transition at work, but after explaining that they weren't the reason I'm not ready, they both jumped on board with the telling everyone idea, and we planned out the details. A few days later, the Manager asked groups of a few people at a time to meet with me, and after all was said and done I'd explained my situation to about 20-25 people. I felt stupid having the meetings, since it's really a personal thing, but I figure I'll have to tell them eventually, and everyone was very cool about it. Even if I'm not transitioning at work yet, it feels so much better just to stop pretending like this huge part of my life isn't happening whenever I'm at work.

A couple of days ago, Erin and I went to a Christmas party with my mom's side of the family. I hadn't really had a chance to talk to my mom since I came out to her, and I was planning on coming out to the rest of the family. When I got there, Mom said she'd told nearly everyone, which was a huge relief. She also told me that she felt that I was a girl when she was pregnant, and that she would've named me Alee Ann (funny, since I was considering Allie for a long time, before I decided Viv fit me much better). When people asked how I was doing, it was nice to be able to honestly answer "Great! I'm doing really really well", and I hope they see how much happier I am overall. I kept getting a "curious" vibe from everyone, but Mom and I were the only ones who mentioned it all night, which I suppose is a good thing.

So what's the plan from here? I'm still focusing on coming out to people. I just have to tell my dad ("just" - lol), and his side of the family, and then I will tell all my old friends (if any of them haven't figured it out from my Facebook pics / posts), and "officially" ask everyone to start using the new name and pronouns. From there, I want to work mainly on my voice and clothes. I somehow feel a lot less hurried though, as if I'm just putting my head down and forging ahead, and I feel good.


  1. I don't think your voice needs work. It sounds better natural, even if it stays a little deeper than most women. I think an affectedly female voice is a bigger give away that someone has transitioned than a deeper than normal female voice is. Just my two cents.

  2. It really depends. A lot of people learn to remove most of the resonance from their voice, without sounding like Mickey Mouse. I also still have a lot of 'boyish' vocal habits, and I think it's important to at least be aware of them. It's definitely all about subtlety, which is what makes it tough, and something I want to work on, even if I just do so passively over the next months/years/lifetime. =)

  3. I am glad that you haven't "officially" asked everyone to start using the new name and pronouns...mostly because I keep messing up. But, in my defense I have known you for a long time by one name and it is hard to change! I like this post and I like seeing how much more comfortable you seem to be feeling with yourself! I was expecting a much longer post though, lol.

  4. And I like the background! It's beautiful!

  5. You have come a long way and I am so proud of you. There are many more big steps that you need to take but know that you are loved and supported!

  6. Yeah I agree with Heidi. It will be hard to get used to the new name, because we've known you for so long that way. :)
    Good luck with telling the Dads (yours and Erin's.) They just may surprise you.

  7. Heidi and Birdie - I absolutely understand that it will take time, and I don't mind people mixing their words up. I'd really only get frustrated if someone was intentionally using the old name/pronouns, and even then I'd be more likely to accept that they're just trying to offend me, and walk off.

    Tessablah - Thank you! <3

    Birdie - I hope they do surprise me, but if not, I think I'm finally ready to deal with the response I'm afraid of.

  8. Cool! Glad you share us a lot of things about you. Well, for me it is really good to celebrate you Halloween with you family to have a bonding moment. :) We always do that every year. Thanks for sharing.

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