Well I did it, I managed to gather up enough courage or lose enough sanity to finally tell H of my plans. A few posts back I posted some thoughts and worries about the ultimate risk of telling H and coming out at work. But I did it. I'd like to say that I did it because it was becoming obvious, that I was getting maam'd and that the changes were becoming hard to hide. All of that is true of course, but the real reason is because it was just to emotionally hard to keep switching back and forth from Rick to Dana every week.
Ultimately this was one of the most selfish acts I've ever committed in my life. I was about to ask the people around me, people I respect and care about, to share my burden just so that I have less to carry. I was to ask my coworkers to become comfortable with sliding gender roles, to have to explain to others what's happening, to ignore the whispers and rumors I've heard my entire life. To live with things I, myself, find difficult to live with. Just for the sole purpose of not going through this all alone. Just to keep the burden that is uniquely mine under control.
But I did it. H showed up on a trip a few weeks ago and I asked for a few moments of his time. This was after another day of constant worry about my health and weight loss. Again I'd like to say it was all in my plan but it wasn't. I just felt trapped under the weight of the lie. I knew his concern was that of a friend and I just couldn't handle the deceit of it all any more. So there we were in downtown Memphis at 10:00 at night walking the streets with the homeless asking for handouts and the partiers coming home from Beale street and I drop the bomb on him. It went well, it really did.
Shock, that's how I'd describe it, shock. He knew it was something big, he knew of the doctors visits, the weight loss, he had seen the effects of E on my body. He'd seen it all over the last 6 months. H has an active imagination that's for sure. For he had thousands of ideas of what it might be. Thousands of things going through his mind between the time I asked for a few minutes of his time to later that night after dinner.
My timing wasn't all that great, I'd ask for a few moments of his time a littler earlier in the day. He knew right away this was it, this was the answer to the question he'd refuse to let drop. But we both had commitments that day, and then dinner with the local staff and visiting corporate staff as well. That only left time after dinner and the business of the day was over. Plenty of time to let his imagination run wild.
Thousands of things, he said. Thousands of things it could have been and yet out of all of the thousands this was not one of them. He never saw it coming. But he handled it perfectly, held the shock in check, didn't say anything wrong, and realized this was not my idea of a joke. I'm sure he could see the worry in my eyes, the worry I'd lose a friend and a job in the span of a few minutes. The worry of ruining my life with just one sentience,
'I'm transitioning to become a woman.'
But I did it. And, he lived. I lived. It's only been a few weeks but I don't remember how the rest of it went. I don't remember how he took it. I remember we talked about a few of the logistics and he told me I was important to him, but I don't remember much of anything else. But, I also know that one's initial reactions to events this large can be and often are deceiving. That the news shocks the system and the brain goes into instant defensive mode. The brain knows it doesn't have the right thing to say so it just doesn't allow you to say anything that might be used against it later.
You can't drop a bomb this large on someone and judge their true response to it on the initial reaction. It's only after you let the news sink in, allow their brain to work through all the ramifications, that the you can judge the response.
Since then it's been a blur, H took the weekend to ask questions, think it all out and let it all sink in. After that he took the lead and made it all happen. Setup a conference call with the team and let me repeat the speech to everyone in our group. Teams always take on the characteristics of their leader and this one is no different. He was going to be OK with it all and his power and rank were going to protect me at all costs. This altitude instantly filtered down through the group. Everyone was confused for sure, but everyone was determined to make it all work.
The support, the care, the love from everyone involved was and still is orders of magnitude more then I ever thought possible. Everyone has made huge efforts to get the pronouns right, to get the name right. To stand up for me, to let those around us know that this is who she is and it's OK with them. To show others that this is OK, and that actions and words to the contrary will not be tolerated.
I am overwhelmed by the support from everyone and more then once I've been brought to tears by their love and support. I cannot begin to describe the impact this has had on me. I could never put into words the relief I feel.
This path is not easy, and this part of it was scary. For I had no idea what would happen and I had so much at risk.
But I did it!