January 3, 2008

Reflecting on Day 2 at Work

Posted in coworkers, family, transgender, work at 10:39 pm by Michael

After you live for 38 years in one gender, and then, pretty much overnight start living in the other, it’s the little things (not to go TOO Pulp Fiction) that are super easy to screw up.

Today I went to the cafeteria right across from my building for lunch. I got my lunch, and went to pay. Salad by the pound – $5.99 –  D’OH! No wallet! Wallet (new one) is back in my office, in another building, in my jacket. WOO HOO! I have a fiver in my pocket… but I’m $0.99 short. You can’t really put part of your salad back. I told the cashier that I’d come back and pay (which I did). Back outside, back to the rain, down the hall to my office, repeat. Lesson learned – remember to have cash in pocket or wallet in hand.

One of the metrics I used back in September to figure out how “normal” things were is if the first thing that people asked me about when they saw me was transgender stuff, or work stuff. Back then, for the first couple weeks, the curve spiked, and very slowly dropped off. It took about two weeks until half the people started with non-trans stuff, and just pure work stuff.

I was expecting an even higher peak, and an even shallower drop off when I came back to work. I was fully prepared to be answering questions for quite some time. But, this is not what happened. Already, it’s been more than 50% starting on “work”, and not on my surgery “vacation”.

Part of the “normal”-ness of this all seemingly is related to the fact that while lots about me physically has changed – I dress about the same (see picture below), my voice is the same, and the email and f2f conversations that I have with people are pretty much – you guessed it – the same. While I’ve not tried, I’m going to guess that going to work dressed “ultra-femme” (besides being not at all me!) would generate much more of a reaction. I still have the opposite problem, in that I dress so conservatively – even still masculine according to some – that I’m still “read” as male.

I do also think that part of the “normal”-ness is about being comfortable. I *am* comfortable, I feel comfortable, and from what people have said – they see it too. As a result, it leads me to think that it reduces the discomfort, and also helps folks get through this with me much more quickly.

One thing that has been odd though is when people who I run into ask questions about things that I blogged about, but I know I never told them. E.g. “How was Vegas?”, “How’s the Samwich feeling?”, “How’s the Samwich’s tooth?” It’s kind of scary to think about how much you generally remember about conversations, and how experiences like that cause a total double take.

Tonight I brought the big kiddos to see their new cousin at the hospital (Anh and Samwich and some other family and friends were already there). Baxter is super cute, and we welcome him warmly to the family. After the visit, we went down the street to grab something to eat. When we were ordering, the waiter, who was looking down at my chest (I saw him look), said:

 “What will the Gentlemen have?”

I said, pointing to Samwich (hoping he would get a clue):

“Who, the baby?”

He said:

“No, you!”

I said:

“Well, most people don’t call me a Gentleman!”

He looked clueless, and continued to Sir/Gentleman me the rest of the night. Usually, I don’t bother to correct people, but it’s rare when I do, and it doesn’t even register. This doesn’t count as a Crappy Look, but it’s damn close.

Again, I realize that there’s lots of stuff that I still need to do – more hair removal – earrings – maybe a little jewelry – maybe not as conservative clothes (but see above…) – more healing – longer hair. I get it. I’m not asking people to get it by default – but wow, if someone says “I’m not a sir, I’m a ma’am” – why not take ‘em at their word at that point?

Anyway… today was another crazy traffic spike day here in this space – both another article from Valleywag ( http://valleywag.com/340222/what-it-feels-like-for-a-girl ) , and also a Microsoft MSDN blog – (One Louder – Heather Hamilton at http://blogs.msdn.com/heatherleigh/archive/2008/01/03/transgendered-in-life-and-at-microsoft.aspx) – so the comment stream went up both here and in the Valleywag article especially. One thing that’s really remarkable though, is as of 10:30pm PT tonight, the comments are very very supportive and positive. Again, my faith in people is increased. I really do appreciate the positive comments and notes of support. Even the challenging comments – its all good – I’m a fan of transparent and open conversations.

So, for those of you who have spent the time reading and those of you who have spend the time to then comment – thanks!

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3 Comments »

  1. I found you blog courtesy of ValleyWag… amazing. You are truly amazing and I wanted you to know that. I just want you to know that a 24 year old girl from Nowhere, Arkansas thinks you’re absolutely amazing.

    This whole journey of discovery you’ve been on, it seems like a wild, fantastical, but in the end, satisfying, ride. I am proud of all people who find the courage to do what makes them happy and I am glad that you have. I hope that one day, I too can find the courage to be my happiest.

    So congratulations! You look beautiful, inside and out. And your family sounds wonderful. I can only imagine having such a family. Good luck to you in all your days, Megan!

    Megan>> Very sweet, thanks so much! Glad you like the blog!

    I wish you the best as well!

  2. debweiss said,

    I guess I could just send you email, but why not comment for everyone to see 😉 Hey, I saw the latest pic of you at work–looking good, and definitely looking radiant/comfortable, which is great! The only thing i want to say, is that there’s a *wide* spectrum between where you are right now and “ultrafemme”–speaking as a girl who wears a skirt maybe once a year if someone makes me go to a wedding or something–; the clothes you are wearing in the work pic look good, *not* too conservative, in my opinion–I think “tailored” is a good idea–you should get a “tailored” jacket vs. North Face for example. I don’t think that your hair isn’t long enough, it just needs to be slightly more “styled” (again, there’s a difference between spending a half an hour on your hair every day vs. 10 minutes with a blow dryer and a bit of hairspray). You don’t need *foundation*, but a little mascara, do an eyebrow wax, and lipstick and a little jewelry would be *perfect*! You definitely don’t need blush, you already have great cheekbones! But the way you talk in the blog, it makes as if people who suggest that you wear a little lipstick are asking you to wear a miniskirt and bustier to work! 😉

    That said, as you mentioned, feeling comfortable is the most important thing.

    Yours Sincerely,
    “Defender of Ultrafemmes everywhere”

    Megan>> Deb, hyou just picked out my outfit for me for Monday at work. Remember my Ann Coulter outfit that I wore for Halloween (sorry gang, I will NOT post those pictures — WAY TOO SCARY).

    Just for clarity on the makeup thing… no, I’m not saying all makeup is bad. I’m saying two things:

    1) the “makeup counter” look, which some people love, and some people hate, isn’t me. I can’t do it.
    2) Right now, given that I have a bunch of other stuff to do *first*, I’m probably not going to start to use makeup for a bit… maybe I’ll start w/non-clear lip gloss – I’ve had a lot of good suggestions on that (bustier free), and I will go there!

    I really do appreciate all the feedback on how I could look better… it is very helpful….

    – Megan

  3. Donald said,

    Dear Megan,

    I just wanted to convey my best wishes and my admiration for your courage and fortitude. The fact that you are sharing your journey with the world is very generous of you, and truly commendable.

    You will touch more people’s lives than you can know,

    Sincerely,

    Donald


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