It's been another crazy week, so crazy that I have barely had time to process coming out to my friend M on Monday. But I would like to write a bit more about it, because I was so touched by his reaction.
I wrote recently about how challenging the past few months, and particularly the past few weeks, have been.
After six months of unemployment, I started a new job near where I grew up. Because it happened so quickly, I temporarily moved into my childhood home with my parents, then commuted over three hours each weekend to pack up and, eventually move my apartment into storage. All with broken ribs and a sore back.
Then, just when things were settling down, the company I work for announced - out of the blue - that they were moving a number of people to a new office 45 minutes north of our current location. And I would be one of them. This threw my plans, which were finally coming into focus, into total chaos. Again.
I *still* don't know what's going to happen with work. For a variety of reasons, the job is a challenge. I think I can make it work - provided I can stay where I am. I'm being told I can, with perhaps one day a week in the new office. Not perfect - and still not what I was told when I interviewed barely two months ago - but better than the alternative. But if they tell me I have to move, all bets are off.
I discussed the details of these events in a previous post, "I'm not going anywhere." The heart of the post was my attempt to thank someone - someone much further along in her transition - who has become a dear friend in just a few short months.
I mentioned in my previous post that this has been a particularly trying week. What got me through it - in addition to my correspondence with the subject of my previous post - was knowing I had a session with M, my therapist, on Saturday.
I hadn't seen her in seven weeks, because of my new job, and moving, and so on. So I had so, so much to tell her. I was really looking forward to seeing her to start sharing everything that's been happening - good and not-so-good.
Unfortunately, this seems to have been designated "Let's Make Cass Sweat" week <lol> - and whoever paid for it was determined to eke out every minute of the full week.
I got up early - well, actually my coughing got me up early, after being up 'til nearly 3:00 working on a project. The good thing was that meant I had plenty of time to get down there. I could take a walk, get a cup of coffee, and just relax for an hour or so.
What *should* have been a 70-75 minute drive became a two-and-a-half hour nightmare.
The worst part?
I was stuck less than ten minutes from her office in complete, utter gridlock.
In the past, I would have been fuming; I can imagine the steam that would have been coming out of my ears as the minutes ticked away, minutes during which I had been counting on telling M about what had been happening.
But now... I just wanted to cry. And I did, a little. I was just so, so tired.
I missed all but the last five minutes of my session. And I only got there for that because I ran six blocks without stopping once I finally managed to find a parking spot.
I sat down, panting, and tried to squeeze in as much as I possibly could in the few minutes I had, literally and figuratively breathless the entire time.
When my time was up, I mentioned that I had called her for the first time one year ago last Saturday. The day my life began, as I described it.
She was genuinely shocked.
"I don't think you have any idea how far you've come in such a short time," she said. "The courage it takes to do what you've done so far is remarkable.
"I have clients who have struggled for years to make a tiny fraction of the progress you've made in twelve months. I am so, so proud of you.
"You're having all of these new emotions and new experiences, and you're feeling things so intensely because the hormones are taking effect now.
"You've been on the go non-stop for nearly two months. You started a new job, packed up your old life on the weekends, and moved to a new state. And for all intents and purposes you did all by yourself. *And* you did it with broken ribs and a sore back.
"And on top of all of that... you're transitioning.
"I know you have so much you want to do, and need to do, and that you want to do it all at the same time, and as soon as you can, and the best you can possibly do it...
"But you also need to know that it's OK to slow down. Even if it's just for a little while to catch your breath.
"So... slow down. Please? Just a little bit? Just for a little while?
Will you promise me you'll at least try?"
M, like all good therapists, NEVER tells a patient what to do.
So I knew she meant it.
So I promised I would do my best.
I told my friend this week that I want to be where she is right now, and to have what she has, and I want it so badly it hurts.
But I know I have to let time take its course.
And M's words reminded me how far I've come in what really isn't much time. (Yes, I wanted to cry when she told me she was proud of me. And I did, a little. So did she. :c))
I promise that I will do my very best to just… be.
I don't need to hide in work anymore.
I don't need to frantically work on three major projects simultaneously, then start them over when they were nearly done, simply so I didn't have to be alone with my thoughts.
I can just be myself.
Because now, finally, thanks to M and my dear, dear, friends, I like who I am.
And even more, who I'm *going* to be.
And that's worth taking a little time to appreciate.
So I will.
Here's what I think is the single most moving song about friendship I have ever heard: Nanci Griffith's lovely tribute to her best friend, "There's A Light Beyond These Woods (Mary Margaret)."
Last Saturday was the one year anniversary of my decision to transition. As I think I mentioned last week, it somehow feels like both a whole lifetime *and* a few moments ago. And both are true, really.
A friend remarked recently that making that call must have been the hardest thing I ever did.
"No," I told him. "Deciding to make the call was the hardest thing I ever did. Making the call was easy."
It's definitely the best decision I've ever made. I knew it within a few weeks of starting HRT. It felt... right. I'm so, so much happier than I was a year ago that it doesn't even merit comparison. I wouldn't go back to my old life for anything in the world.
While transitioning is the best decision I ever made, I knew going in that it was going to be the biggest challenge of my life, one that would require every ounce of strength I had. I also knew there would be times when it would seem overwhelming.
I'm a bit under the weather as I deal with my semi-annual bout with the flu, but I wanted to write a quick post about something that happened the other night.
My friend C called me so we could catch up; we've been playing phone tag for months, literally. She's important to me, so I wanted her to be one of the first people to know about me. I wanted to tell her in person (she lives about four hours away), but I decided I wanted to tell her, even if the phone isn't ideal.
I think I've mentioned that I've been staying with my parents while I get settled here - and that they don't know about me yet. Which isn't to say I haven't tried. And tried. And tried. And tried. (For the record, my sister is still the only family member who knows.) I really appreciate them letting me stay here - things have been frantic as I start a new job, commute 90+ minutes each way on weekends to pack, and, oh, yes, transition - but, still, it has its challenges.
For instance, they seem to forget at times that I'm an adult now, and that I need some privacy. Not because they want to eavesdrop; they just forget I'm not 13 anymore.
My parents had gone out to dinner, which meant the timing was good to tell C my news. Of course, things couldn't be that simple.
The instant C phones, my parents, naturally, arrived home early from dinner. And naturally, instead of staying downstairs to catch up on the Law & Order repeats they missed instead of staying downstairs as they always do, they decide to go to bed immediately - in the room right next to mine. Naturally.
I tried whispering, but my voice is shot because I have a cold. So as I battle nerves and surging emotions while I attempt to whisper to C that I was, you know, changing gender, she kept apologizing because she couldn't hear a word I was saying.
So I got up and checked out the adjoining bedroom - but then I hear my father in the room on the other side of the wall watching, yes, Law & Order. (Because what else would a retired cop want to see but more blood and guts, right?) Which means I had only one place left where I could be assured they wouldn't be able to hear.
So, I go to this location, and proceed to give C what is rapidly becoming my standard "I'm transitioning" speech - and wow, there's a phrase I never dreamed I'd be writing! :c)
C, in turn, has what is rapidly becoming the standard response:
a) <stunned silence>
c) "I'm so, so sorry - I can't imagine how difficult this has been for you."
d) "You're totally coming down here and we're going for pedicures!"
All right, she's the only one who's said d) so far. But I can always hope it *does* become commonplace - my dogs are *ugly*, and need all the help they can get! :c)
Anyway, after a few minutes of C attempting to wrap her brain around this news and me trying not to hyperventilate and/or pass out from another coughing jag, C says, "I have to ask you something.
"Your voice sounds really weird. Where *are* you, anyway?"
The tension - OK, terror - I'd felt all day faded as the appropriateness of my location sank in.
"Umm… in the closet."
We laughed for a full minute. :c)
You really can't make these things up!
I'll write more about this conversation - C and I have a long history together, and she's important to me. I also want to write about my moving adventure/first HRT-induced meltdown, and about my doctor, well, chewing me out about overdoing things. And, since you can never have too much uncertainty in your life as you transition, the latest (potential) game-changer at my new job.
But one thing at a time. Or so my doctor tells me. :c)
For now... off to bed!
I had a conversation with a friend the other night - late the other night, as she's a fellow insomniac. She mentioned that the Primitives have a new album coming out soon. Since then, I've had this song stuck in my head.
In turn, I mentioned to her that Mazzy Star also have a new album due out. As a result, I also have *this* song in my head now.