Thursday, December 31, 2009

Holidays and stuff

Christmas has never been one of my favorite holidays. Too much to get done, too much family, too much on-your-best-manners, too much this, too much that. Too much stress. Just too much.

The new year is another one I just don't get. I just can't get all that excited for the fact that the calendar is recycling. The calendar does that same thing every month, and yet we don't get all excited those other eleven times during the year. And plus, it's more of an alcoholic holiday, and I just don't even go there.

But perhaps the new year thing isn't all that far out there. I had lunch with L today, and we talked a lot about changes in our lives. Seems like people can use something like a new year as something of a clean slate, to try something new and different. The setting of resolutions for the new year is a prime example of that. This new year, for me, will bring the most dramatic of changes. I'll have a new public persona. I'll have a new name. I should reach some plateau of completeness with all my big life changes. There are further changes which I might yet make, but those are still some time away.

One of the things that inspires some of my friends (and me too, of course) about my whole odyssey, is that fact that I get to completely remake my life, and my persona, and be exactly who I want to be. Exactly. That's quite a big thing to encompass. No preconceptions, no determinism, no history. I can change anything. I can be anyone. Tabula rasa, in a manner of speaking.

I'm actually considering setting some resolutions for myself. I've never done it before, but I think it could be something interesting. We'll see how I feel when I wake up tomorrow.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post-holiday blahs

It happens every year. The big buildup to Christmas, with all the attendant stress, and when it's all over, it seems like it was all for nought. As the bard said, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

The dumb part is that I knew what was going to happen. I knew my brother-in-law was going to echo my sister's feelings about me. I knew my entire family was going to be indifferent at the very best with my feminine presentation. I knew, and yet I let it make me crazy for, what, two weeks. I haven't slept worth a darn for that long, and it's catching up with me in a big, big way. I've had a low-grade headache for days now. I've developed an itchy and painful case of eczema on my forehead and eyelids, surely from all that stress.

So now I just need to let go of it. I might have hit some kind of point today on that path; all of a sudden, I had absolutely no energy, and just had to sleep. Most of the rest of the day, I've been quite sedate, and I hope I can sleep well tonight. I need the rest.

One of these days, I'll learn that nobody defines me, but me. I'll learn that my happiness doesn't need to depend on the responses of a very specific small group of people. I might even learn that there are other people out there, who do respond well, and I can feel good with their responses to me. I might also learn that happiness can be wherever I find it, and I need to keep my heart open that I might find those new places of joy.

This was all so much easier when I was numb, and didn't care. Apathy was nice while it lasted, but that's no way to have any kind of meaningful life. Easy usually doesn't equate with good or healthy. Now I do care, and things do matter, so I take everything pretty seriously. No grains of salt here. This is my life, and I've had enough with it being numb and worthless. I want it to be awesome, and there are forces which are near to me which seek to make it not awesome. So I just need to recognize those sources of anti-awesomeness as what they are, and eschew them in favor of sources of love and support.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Ho ho ho

Christmas day is going a lot better than Christmas Eve did. I woke up from the first decent night's sleep in many days, and felt like spending time with my family, regardless of how they have been treating me. And if they treated me poorly, I reasoned, I do have a plan B.

Up, showered, dressed. Kept it simple today - just jeans and a tee, and my new pink All-Stars. Collected gifts and went. Ate breakfast, opened gifts, laughed at the dog. My sister's dog is a riot.

After lunch, I came back home to decompress a little bit, and bake a quick loaf of orange-cran bread. I'm not sure how much decompression I needed, but I did want some time to reflect a bit on what happened this morning.

I've commented a few times to a few different people that I want nothing to do with being in the spotlight. But on the other end of the spectrum, there's being largely ignored, and that's just as hard for me to deal with. Now that I'm getting to a place where I'm comfortable with myself, it's nice to have people recognize that, and in turn feel more comfortable around me, and maybe even comment on it. My family totally failed on that score. For them, my transition is something to be endured, not something to be celebrated. My anger about that has dulled, but is by no means gone. As their antipathy remains, so does mine.

Nobody made any comments, positive or negative, which has both positive and negative aspects to it. They weren't berating me, laughing at me, or making fun of me, so that's good. On the other hand, they weren't being positive in any way, and for a lot of the day, I felt largely invisible. Out of sight, out of mind, right there in the same room with them all. And that's not good.

Perhaps I should have involved them earlier on. Then they would have had more time to become acclimated to the changes. As it stands now, I'm almost at the finish line, and they've only just heard the starting gun. My friends and I have been dealing with all of this stuff for over a year now, so it's getting to be old hat to us - just another part of the day. I'm probably not being as patient as I could be with my family, since they're not up with me.

The other part is the name/pronoun thing. They're using he, him, and the old guy name, which just twists the knife a little each time. It denies my identity, and pushes everything I've been working toward under the rug. My brother-in-law is calling me "Mr. <guyname>", which... I'm not sure if he's doing it out of habit, or out of malice. I didn't want to push it with anyone today, in the interest of not having people freak out, but I think after this, I'm going to start. I'm a she. I'm a her. I'm Trinity.

I guess all I can really do is hope that things get better. And if they don't, I'll keep that plan B open. I've got places I can go, and people who love me.

Everyone have a happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas time

Christmas time and family can be a deadly combination. I saw my family today - all of them - for about ten minutes. It was all I could stand, and I had to get out of there.

I spoke briefly with my brother-in-law, and that didn't go very well. He said that he didn't understand, and that based on his beliefs, he couldn't accept or support me. He said that he would be civil to me. He also said that he felt sorry for me, and that he worried for my safety.

Every bit of that was a knife to the heart. The last person in the family fell right in line with the rest of them, in their dismissal of my identity.

I went off to be by myself for a few minutes, and was intercepted by my mother when I was on my way out the door. I told her that I was going to leave, and when she asked if I would be back for dinner, I slowly replied that I didn't know. I then proceeded to blow up at her a little. My final shot was that if they weren't willing to accept me as I am, then to hell with them all.

It was probably a pretty childish display, but I am so furious with all of them and with their lousy treatment of me. I have had enough of being "tolerated" and "treated civilly", when what I really need is love and acceptance. I've never gotten a huge amount of it from them, even before I was out to them, but the little I used to get is now a distant memory.

I spent most of the rest of the afternoon crying off and on. I didn't return for dinner, and I'm still trying to decide whether I want to go over there tomorrow morning. I should go and see if they have anything worthwhile to say to me, but right now, my anger is telling me to stay far away from all of them.

See me, feel me, touch me, heal me

It's early morning, Christmas Eve. My sister and brother-in-law are coming into town tomorrow, so I will have to face them.

I sent a CD off to my brother-in-law late last week, and hoped it would reach him by Tuesday, or Wednesday at the very latest. It was a recording of me, reading him the coming-out letter that I wrote for him. I do not feel comfortable enough around my sister, to go visit to have the talk with him, so this seemed like the next best thing. He still gets to hear things in my voice, but just lacks the part of seeing me there. In it, in addition to the typical coming-out stuff, I told him that I would be presenting femme at Christmas this year. At the end, I told him that he could call me at any time if he had questions, or if he just wanted to talk to me. I had hoped that he would call, at least just to let me know that he had received the parcel, and listened to it, but I haven't heard a peep.

On the way home from seeing Avatar tonight, E and I got to talking about it, and she assured me that whatever happens, she will not abandon me, and that I always have a place to go with her and C. As we were all going our separate ways, I was talking a bit with K, and my anger with my sister came back in full force. I decided a while ago that if she wants to start something, that I would be out the door, and that would be the last time she would ever see me. I still feel that way, but I just hope it doesn't come to that.

This feels like such an ultimatum point. I hate to call it that, but it's me saying "this is me, take me or leave me, forever". It's going to be hard for me to give second chances. I know I have to let go of my anger, but I can't do that, not when I have no idea how things stand.

Tomorrow I'll know, one way or the other. Tomorrow I'll know if I still have a sister.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Work

I came out to my boss yesterday.

It all started last week, when I had to let him know about the all-day doctor appointment that I had. He replied that he hoped everything was ok, to which I replied "nothing life-threatening, but important", and that we should discuss it during our next one-on-one conference, which was supposed to be this past Tuesday. Well, Tuesday turned into a bit of drama, and we didn't get to have our meeting. So I spent the rest of the week in extreme stress mode, waiting until I could get a chance to spill my big pot o' beans.

Finally, on Friday we managed to have our meeting. I had some notes of most of the points I wanted to discuss, but for the first part, I just flew by the seat of my pants. Coming out, no matter to one's family, or friends, or boss, is fundamentally the same. There's a big thing, and one tells the other what it is, and then things go on from there. The anxiety for me (and probably for a lot of people) is about that last part, where things go on. Sometimes it's hard to see, with any clarity, just what that going-on will involve. And that, I think, is the crux of the whole thing: we don't know what will happen, and we're scared of the unknown.

I'm not entirely sure what I did expect from him, but whatever it was, bore very little resemblance to reality. He was calm and cool, and at the same time warm and supportive. He said that he wanted to help me in any way he could, which kind of blew me away. We talked a little bit about my current plans, and he was very open, and agreed with my tentative timeline. I mentioned that I would send him a few links with some resources that might be helpful, and also suggested that we work together, and with HR, to come up with a good strategy for everything that needs to happen.

It was a weird conversation; I've never really connected with my boss, or any boss, on a personal level, and there I was, doing exactly that. So I think everybody grew a little bit from the conversation, and I left his office with a smile on my face and a really good feeling about the future.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Post surgery follow-up

I journeyed up to Plano once again yesterday for my two-week post-surgery appointment. Everything has been doing pretty well since all the excitement of a couple weeks ago, so I expected the visit to be pretty short.

K had agreed to come along, both for driving help and moral support. He stayed on my couch the night before, since we were getting underway pretty early in the morning. I was a little freaked out, so I probably wasn't the best hostess in the world; I hope he understood.

I managed maybe four hours' sleep that night, and woke even before my alarm. I got up, showered, and got ready. And then the nervousness started, while I waited for K to get ready. It wasn't quite the "I'm doing something completely new" terror, but my appetite was off, and I certainly wasn't feeling too talkative. K slept for the early part of the trip, which was maybe good, and maybe not so good. I had a lot of time to think, and not much else to occupy my thoughts. But once we got to Dallas, traffic diverted my attention enough so that I didn't go all basketcase.

We were early, by about 45 minutes, and it was lunchtime, so I suggested getting something to eat. K agreed, so we went to a sandwich shop that E and I found while we were there. This time, though, the place was full of people. I think I managed to keep my composure, though I ate precious little of my food, and my hands were shaking the entire time. My next big hurdle, and this is probably more of a long-term project, is to become more comfortable just being out in the world. I don't do it much, so it's always stressful. But we finished our lunch without incident, and headed to the doctor's office.

The appointment itself was very short; I was in the office for maybe ten minutes. The doctor had a look at how everything was healing, and seemed very happy. No hematomas, which he said was the big thing to worry about with the procedure I had. The incisions themselves were starting to go away; he had placed adhesive strips over them after the surgery, which he removed. He directed me to place small pieces of adhesive tape over the incisions for a couple months, to make sure everything heals up well. And then I had a few questions, and that was that. He said he wouldn't need to see me again unless something goes really wrong.

The trip back to Houston was a whole different story. K was driving, and my stress had completely evaporated. I actually had a really good time. Traffic seemed a little heavier than the trip up, but I wasn't driving, so I actually just totally let go of everything related to the road. I spent most of the trip changing radio stations; I'm sure I was driving K absolutely bonkers. But we listened to some good music, and we chatted pretty much the entire way home.

When we got back into Houston, we went directly to C and E's for dinner, which was delicious. I had brought a pair of pants (I wore a skirt for the day) in anticipation of playing some Rock Band, but both K and I were absolutely exhausted, so we called it a night a bit early. I don't think it was much later than 10:30 PM when I fell into bed. I slept the sleep of the just.