(That Wuz) The Week That Wuz

Monday, June 4, 2012

Whew. Perhaps it's just the hormones, but things certainly have seemed... intense the past few months. This past week was no exception. Mostly good, but, as the song goes, "Wherever there is comfort there is pain/Only one step away." And vice versa (as I prefer to think about it).

So shall we dive right in, then?

May as well get the unpleasantness out of the way up front, eh? 

One word: work. Sigh. When I got this job slightly over two months ago, I thought it would end a lengthy period of upheaval. Alas, it was my own personal Prague Spring (to use a vastly inappropriate metaphor).

The craziness started almost the instant I began the job, and it hasn't abated since. In fact, it seems to accelerate from day to day - or, as was the case on Friday, hour to hour.

I'll spare everyone the gory details; they make my eyelid twitch involuntarily just thinking about it. Essentially, I'm caught in a turf war between three different managers other than my own. My manager is very nice, but is located in another state. The other managers, who are in the same office I'm in, are simply ignoring her and coming directly to me: sending meeting invitations, asking for timelines, etc. etc.

I'm not a manager, so I'm in an impossible position in terms of telling them I won't do something. I was quite literally given three different - and completely contradictory - number one priorities in a five minute stretch yesterday afternoon.

I should note that I genuinely like each of these managers, and feel a great deal of sympathy for their position. They are being asked to perform miracles without the proper resources or adequate time. However, *I* am the one being asked to walk on water here, not them. And I am the one who will be held responsible when I can't.

In my pre-transitioning days, I would have been beside myself with worry and barely repressed rage. (I would be smiling on the outside, but plotting various untimely demises for each of the offending parties.) Now, though, I was just exasperated. More than that, thought, I felt... weary.

I used to hide behind my job; it was a convenient excuse - one of many - I could use to avoid dealing with the truth about who I was. I likely would have welcomed a chance to  spend 60-70 hours a week for months on end trying to do the impossible.

No more. I don't need to do that any longer. More importantly, I WON'T do that any longer. My job is just that: a job. It is not all-consuming, as it used to be for most of my life.

Well, this is quite a bit more than I originally planned to write about this tawdry little sequence! lol As I've noted, I just can't hold in my feelings any longer; I go crazy if I do. Heck, I feel better already after writing this. :c)

I don't know what is going to happen with this job. I simply hope it gets better. Whether that means the powers-that-be have a wrestling match to establish turf, or that I find another job is really irrelevant to me. I simply need some semblance of stability. I need to focus my energy on becoming me, not dealing with office politics. My fingers are crossed.


On to other matters...

On Friday night I went over my friend Vs house, with plans to watch Martin Scorseses new documentary on George Harrison. That did not happen.

V is one of the friends to whom I've come out. I've known him for over half my life. He is almost certainly the most sincere, decent person I have ever known. And that is why it pains me that he is troubled by, and genuinely struggling with, my transition.

V is incapable of malice, so it was difficult for him to say some of the things he did. Without putting words into his mouth, and without revealing everything we discussed, I can say that he is clearly uncomfortable with my transition.

Weve had several recent, lengthy conversations about it. I know hes having a hard time, and I feel responsible. I am well aware that my decision will impact my friends and family; its one of the main reasons I agonized over it for so long. I know I have to do this, but I also know its asking quite a lot from my friends. For that reason, and for his unstinting friendship over the years, I feel that V has more than earned the right to ask as many questions as he wants.

He has expressed the same concerns in each of our conversations:

a)    Im rushing into this, and havent thought it through.
b)   Im assuming that transitioning will make my life perfect.
c)     Ill regret HRT and having GCS surgery, and wont be able to go back to myself.

My responses are the same each time:

a)    I explain the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care, and, in particular, my work with M, my therapist. I reiterated that at my very first session I told M I wanted her to challenge me; I didnt want any doubts when I decided to transition. She did (and does), and I have none. Im doing what is right for me, a decision I became even more sure of within a few weeks of starting HRT.
b)   Ive replied, gently, that I never said that transitioning would solve all of my problems. Ill still have problems, just like everyone else. But Ill have them as myself, finally.
c)     Im taking hormones and, eventually, having GCS surgery as part of the process of becoming myself. He was never who I really was.

This last point, I think, is one of the two things that most upsets V (Ill write about the other in another, upcoming, post): that he is losing the friend hes known all these years.

As our intense, hours-long conversation was nearing its end, V leaned forward, his face earnest.

Does everyone who transitions have this surgery? he asked.

I told him no, that in fact most people do not, for a variety of reasons, and that there are various points at which a person may feel comfortable, from surgery, to HRT without surgery, to cross-dressing, and so on.

V thought about this for a minute. He looked at me plaintively.

Couldnt you just know youre a woman inside, but not change how you look? And just stay the way you are? Cant that be enough?

It broke my heart.

No, V. It cant. It just cant.

But why not? he asked, almost imploring. I just dont understand. I dont understand this at all.

V, I dont understand it either, I told him. I just know its true. I have to do this. I have to. I cannot go back to being him. I just cant.

We sat in silence for a while after that.

Eventually he apologized for asking so many questions. I assured him, as I have before, that he can ask me absolutely anything. If I dont want to answer, Ill say so.

As I left, he gave me a bear hug.

You know Ill be there for you, right? I dont understand this, but I promise Ill do whatever I can.

I returned his hug.

Thank you, V, I said. I know you will.

And I do.


In less wrenching news, M  who, coincidentally, I met through V - continues to amaze me with how he seems to intuitively grasp what transitioning means. (And that by no means is to cast aspersions on V; different people simply respond differently, as Im learning.

M, to whom I memorably came out the previous week, had a few days to think about that conversation. I had mentioned that Ive been writing quite a bit about my experiences, essentially forming a sort of informal, ongoing autobiography. I asked if he would be interested in reading them.

Id be interested in anything you want to share with me, he said. It will help me understand this better. Right now I dont really know anything.

So I sent him the posts that, in part, explain how I got here. (Im planning to write more, particularly about my experience when I reached puberty, as well the events that led to me realizing, at long last, that I had to transition, but it will have to wait until Im not living with my family. Writing about those events while living in the house where they took place is simply not an option.)

I sent them to M on Tuesday evening at 9:00 PM with a note saying a) theyre quite long (about 250 printed pages so far!), and b) a bit intense in some cases, so he should probably take his time reading them.

The next morning I received a reply from M. He said that he started shortly after I sent them then kept going, because he couldnt stop. He stayed up the entire night and read every word.

He said he was stunned by what I had gone through over the years, almost none of which I shared with him. And he apologized for not being a better friend, both in terms of realizing something was wrong and in not making me feel I could tell him anything.

Of course I assured him no one could have known, since I simply closed down emotionally for nearly half my life. Even now, after over six months on hormones, I still find that numb, empty feeling is there, particularly when dealing with something that is upsetting. Im getting much, much better at letting go and simply being, but you dont overcome a lifetime of guarding your emotions as if your life depended on it in a few months. Its an ongoing process. But its one Ill master.

He said that his heart ached for me as he read about my experiences, particularly with H and R, as well as E & M (both of whom he knew). But when finished, his overwhelming emotion was happiness.

Happiness because, at long last, I was on the way to my life.  The one I deserved.

And he promised to be there, as my friend, no matter what my name is, or how my appearance changes.

As I said it was quite a week. :c)


Believe it or not, there was more  I had a nearly four-hour phone call with C on Saturday evening, for instance - but those stories will have to wait for another time, as its getting late. I will say this much: C concluded our conversation by asking when we were going shopping. If anyone saw my first, misguided attempts at picking my own wardrobe (What, are you dressing for two? asked my sister as she held up my initial purchases), you would understand my elation at that moment. :c)

I actually think that, in their own way, M and V were saying the same thing about being there for me. V might simply need more time to catch up with M  or he may simply decide he cant do that. In either case, he certainly has earned the right to take the time he needs to work things out in his own mind. I owe him that much, at a minimum.

Heres hoping next week is not quite as intense. A girl needs a little down time now and then, after all

Heres a two-fer for your weekend viewing pleasure. First is Crowded House, performing Four Seasons In One Day, the song from which I quoted from in the introductory paragraph. Neil Finn wrote it, in part, about Paul Hester, CHs brilliant, mercurial original drummer. The song was a pledge of devotion to a troubled friend:

Smiling as the s*** comes down
You can judge a man by what he has to say
Everything gets turned around
But I will risk my neck again, again

You can take me where you will
Up the creek and through the mill
Like everything you cant explain
Like four seasons in one day

I did not get to watch the George Harrison documentary with V that night. But I did get to watch it the next night. (Its wonderful, as you would expect, and worth it for the amazing photographs and video clips alone.) One song thats been running through my head all week is the title track to his classic solo debut album - and a thematic cousin to "Four Seasons In One Day" - 1970s "All Things Must Pass": 

Now the darkness only stays the night-time
In the morning it will fade away
Daylight is good at arriving at the right time
It's not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away
All things must pass
All things must pass away

Heres' a demo version, recorded during the White Album sessions - and rejected by the band, as was Paul McCartney's lovely "Junk," which turned up on his solo debut album. Imagine having such an embarrassment of riches that you can toss aside songs like these?!? Remarkable...

And if you've never heard it, here is his breathtaking solo acoustic demo of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps,"with alternate lyrics:

Be sure to have your pulse checked if you don't have goosebumps after listening to that!


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